Not that long ago, the idea that artificial intelligence (AI) would be generally available — never mind a vital and daily part of all of our lives — would have seemed impossible. But here we are, with powerful and useful AI in our homes, cars, pockets and even in our workplace.

And interestingly, most of the movie- and science fiction- driven fears of AI (you know, 2001’s HAL and the Terminator’s Skynet) have faded away, with most of us seeing AI as an extremely useful buddy who helps us get things done, entertain ourselves and answer vital trivia questions.

However, there are still some areas where people fear AI.

AI in the workplace

One of the biggest areas of concern with AI is in the workplace. You can’t argue the fact that in some industries, robots have taken jobs — and many workers across industries are wondering whether AI has the capabilities to do their job.

AI is definitely something that will be found in many (if not most) workplaces. According to recent Aberdeen research, over the next 12 months, 37 percent of businesses are planning to invest over $1 million in AI, and 12 percent plan to invest more than $10 million.

That’s a significant amount of money, which indicates just how serious many businesses are about leveraging the benefits of AI. But what does this mean for the people who occupy roles that AI could fill?

Intelligent assistance

The reality is that, for many, AI isn’t coming for their job; it’s coming to help them do their job. Across all industries and use cases, we’ve seen examples of AI being used to easily bring extra knowledge and training, to manage processes and workflows, and even to handle simple tasks — freeing up workers to fill more complex and demanding roles.

With strong AI driving their decision making, companies can reduce costs and improve business by identifying and adopting winning strategies. By using AI to understand customer trends, organizations can provide better service or even introduce brand new products they didn’t know customers needed.

And by leveraging intelligent assistants and interfaces of their own, organizations can effectively service and manage their customers, providing a user experience that far surpasses the standard of traditional service. In fact, Aberdeen research shows that businesses that leverage AI within their enterprises see lower IT costs and improved ability to service customers.

Effective adoption

How are leading businesses adopting AI effectively? Really, the same way most new technologies are adopted.

Savvy companies do a self-analysis to figure out which areas of the business will benefit most from AI and automation. Then, they slowly work AI into their environments, ensuring strong integration with their infrastructure and making sure that staff is trained to get the most out of these capabilities.

For integration to be truly effective, businesses need to understand both the strengths and weaknesses of AI. Current AI can answer many questions and handle simple tasks, but AI is far from foolproof.

As recent news about potential privacy issues has shown, even AI giants like Amazon and Google use real workers to constantly check the effectiveness of their AI tools. Similarly, these companies ensure that AI implementations have human workers regularly overseeing them to be sure they understand users’ goals for the AI and to minimize mistakes as much as possible.

Preparing your business for AI is vital for success in today’s economy. Leading businesses understand the intelligence of adopting AI and see that there is nothing artificial about the benefits it provides.