AI and Your Business: Questions and Answers from Adobe MAX


Creative Cloud

Art and science are often considered opposites, but history proves that when the two combine, each is strengthened. From Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man, to today’s digital design platforms, human progress requires the melding of creativity with the insightfulness of science, and that’s never been more true than with artificial intelligence (AI).

As artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent, questions and misconceptions continue to arise. Since AI is growing in importance in the business world — even the products in your Creative Cloud for teams membership lean on AI to help them be effective — it’s necessary to understand what it actually is and how it can help companies improve. Chris Duffey, Senior Strategic Business Development Manager at Adobe and Tom Goodwin, EVP, Head of Innovation, Zenith Media, provided some answers to these common questions at this year’s MAX session “Putting AI to Work In Your Business.”

What is Artificial Intelligence?

When people hear the term artificial intelligence, they tend to think of humanoid androids like the characters in the movie iRobot, but AI simply refers to the technological method used to digest data and innovate old processes. Developers believe AI should enhance efficiency and effectiveness, build the emotional connection to consumers, and lead to experimentation that helps businesses discover what works best.

How can AI help my customer base?

The purpose of artificial intelligence — from a business standpoint — is to bridge the gap between the customer and the company. AI gathers and analyzes data, gaining important insights while respecting the needs of the customer, then reports back to corporate decision makers. Chris says, “If you look at some of the most recent stats about the digital transformation from messaging to experiences, 86 percent of businesses say they are trying to build a better customer experience. Yet only one percent of customers feel that they are getting a great experience from the businesses they patron.” AI is meant to show companies how to better deliver what customers actually want.

Will AI replace human jobs and human creativity?

Instead of thinking of upcoming improvements in AI as “man versus machine,” think of the relationship as that of conductor and orchestra. The human is the creative director, the one who tells the machine how to perform. Artificial intelligence is more of an intelligent assistant, or an intern who does all the grunt work so the higher-ups don’t have to. The main worry about artificial intelligence is that it will make humans obsolete, but machines can’t and won’t replace human creativity. Throughout history, people have worried about being replaced by machines, but technology doesn’t erase jobs; it creates new ones. Humans will always be needed to program and run the machines and to creatively implement the information gathered.”Since 1890, only one American job has completely disappeared — the elevator operator,” Tom says. “History shows us that everyone else is safe.”

How is AI already improving customer experiences?

The most obvious example is the rise of voice assistants. Each new iteration — Siri, Alexa, Cortana — adds something new to the consumer experience. Their main purpose is to simplify some mundane human task that usually takes more time than required, like checking the weather or searching for something online. People can ask the voice assistant a question or ask it perform a simple task without taking time away from other important activities. And as companies work to expand the services and responsiveness of electronic assistants, customer satisfaction will also improve.

What about my consumers’ personal data? Doesn’t AI put all our data at risk?

Artificial intelligence is designed to protect and respect the consumer. The internet has given these consumers a nearly infinite amount of options, so companies must step up to ensure customer loyalty. If customers don’t receive the experiences they want or need, they won’t continue doing business with the company. If a company uses artificial intelligence in a dishonest way, it loses its clients’ trust. Adobe, for instance, is committed to protecting its customers’ data. Like any other business practice, using AI should be driven by customer satisfaction and honest business practices.

What is Adobe Sensei?

Adobe Sensei is the technology that powers intelligent features across all Adobe products to dramatically improve the design and delivery of digital experiences, using artificial intelligence and machine learning in a common framework.

What will the future look like as AI becomes more common in the workplace?

Few businesses incorporate game-changing technology into an existing infrastructure. When companies do update their processes, they often just build on the existing method, instead of starting from scratch with something more efficient. For example, airplanes still require boarding passes, although they now accept digital ones. Tom points out that there is no real reason for boarding passes to still be necessary for check-in, since the available technology can check people in without a document. But customers are used to boarding passes, and companies aren’t willing to overhaul their systems.

In the future, as companies and consumers begin to better understand and trust AI, the new technology will become commonplace and intuitive. Instead of technology being adjacent to our lives, it will flow seamlessly through our day-to-day activities. For example, television can become more interactive, with users being able to operate the TV with their voice, and interact with ads. Technology will truly become an invisible assistant, and humans will have more time and energy to direct toward creative pursuits.

Technological advancements benefit the consumer and the company, and businesses that start to incorporate high-quality artificial intelligence quickly will have the market advantage. Through Adobe Sensei, we are incorporating AI into our apps and services to make creative work easier for you — starting with the tools available in your Creative Cloud for teams membership.