Many fear that machines will replace human jobs. But, KEITH FENNER, Vice-President Sage Enterprise Africa & Middle East, says that it can offer enormous benefits to businesses, and that now is the time to invest in it.
Machine learning, which used to be something only computer scientists in server rooms discussed, has become a hot topic, along with big data and artificial intelligence (AI).
Machines develop algorithms that allow them to make predictions, such as the shows you might want to watch on Showmax or Netflix, to use a simple example. Machines will also update their models as new data is received, without human intervention.
Advances in machine learning have caused many to fear that machines will replace human jobs. However, I’d like to argue that it can offer enormous benefits to business, and that now is the time to invest in it.
Machine learning is all around us
Retailers can already successfully predict the performance of retail promotions using advanced machine learning. This not only maximises ROI, but also streamlines the inventory ordering process. Machine learning algorithms also enable effortless personalised marketing.
The financial services sector uses machine learning to detect fraud and provide pre-approved loan offers, while Google uses it to run its driverless cars. Brands use it to get a sense of what’s being said about them on social media.
The age of machine learning is here. In fact, 40% of businesses surveyed by the Accenture Institute for High Performance in a 2016 study are already using it to improve sales and marketing performance.
What machine learning offers to Enterprise
Machine learning is proficient at handling analytical tasks within defined parameters. For example, companies use machine learning to track new leads, upsells, and sales cycle times.
Elliot Yama points out that there is huge opportunity in what he terms “Quote-to-Cash” solutions:
· These encompass all the business processes involved in selling: from compiling initial offers right through to collecting payments.
· Quote-to-Cash solutions connect many previously manual tasks and disjointed processes, automating and optimising them seamlessly.
· They are now also helping to drive business outcomes across all sales channels and to optimise sales reps’ performance. For example, by improving quoting speed or the time it takes to generate a contract, machine learning can substantially improve salespeople’s chances of closing a deal.
But machine learning offers advantages beyond sales and marketing. It can be used to predict customer credit risk, to recognise text or speech (goodbye, painful data-capturing processes) and even to approve insurance claims quickly, without human intervention.
AI helps make work more meaningful
People will now have time to focus on other aspects of the business like driving innovation and exploring meaning. The beauty of machine learning is that it is able to do the work where humans can’t compete. A great example of machine learning at work is in the accounting industry.
AI can streamline accounting and compliance. It’s why we recently released Pegg, the world’s first accounting chatbot. Accounting is a perfect use case for automation, because it centres on repetitive, manual tasks. By using AI to automate it, businesses are able to focus more on core business activities and on the human elements of their business.
Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com
This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.
Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.
What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.
However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.
As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.
It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.
The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.
To enter the competition follow the steps below:
Competition entry details:
3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.
4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.
5. The competition is only open to South African residents.
Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist
Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.
Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.
The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela. It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.
“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time. We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”
The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba. It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.
Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.
“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”
This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.