Artificial Intelligence

Computer scientists in alliance with software engineers have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of being the first man to create Hal (the computer in the movie 2001 Space Odyssey that had developed artificial intelligence i.e. conscious thought). Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as a computer which evolved from limited data processing and computer program driven tasks into more than a machine; having acquired a higher level of consciousness such as those of living organisms.

Since the establishment of the motion picture industry there have been countless science fiction movies depicting what the world would be like with Artificial Intelligence. Isaac Asimov would be the most prolific writer of AI. Asimov is celebrated the world over by winning more science fiction awards than any other author. Many of his works became (or influenced) blockbuster motion pictures. If you have seen movies such as AI, 2001 Space Odyssey, Terminator, I-Robot and countless others, you’re amongst the millions of movie viewers spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the pleasure of hypothesizing what artificial intelligence might look like. Today computers don’t have the ability to have conscious thought, but tomorrow…

Imagine somewhere in the not to distant future what a computer might be like if it could think for itself and get smarter as it learned from real life experiences. Imagine a limitless memory with no fatigue to influence the decision making process. Imagine an enriched thinking process that adds more relevance to decision making based on monitoring hundreds of people’s behavior patterns last year, last month, last week and today. What if that mechanical mind had an understanding of performance and behavioral changes based on past/present and what is likely to occur in the future. What if there was a “Hal” with a binary brain who could evaluate human personal decision making processes and personality profiles from the vocabularies people used. Envision a collaborative ally that could instantly evaluate our prospective client’s personality types from speech patterns, and how they construct their sentences, combinations of sentences and voice inflections. What if our “Hal” knew and understood our employee’s preferences. Finally how cool would it be if “Hal” was able to know your potential better than you could and had the ability to see you’re on a hot streak while concurrently improving the quality level of your work. Consider the value of a machine that had the ability to take all of this reasoning power and make decisions about matching employees to the best opportunities based on a brilliant understanding of their strengths and weakness. I am sure we would all agree “that would be really something!”

The truth is this is not the future; this is today. Cutting edge information technology is revolutionizing the way businesses do business. In the computer science world the closest thing to artificial intelligence is something called “Live-Metrics.” Businesses are starting to develop and implement multifaceted combinations of software applications driven by “Live Metrics.” I can hear someone asking right about now, “What the heck is Live Metrics”? Glad you asked.

So what is that stuff…
Let’s begin with defining simple metrics matching. In the world of software coding, metrics matching is simply an intelligent matching process. The matching is based on characteristics. Dating sites like E-Harmony match people based on gathered and stored metrics. E Harmony has a patented Compatibility Matching System TM (i.e. characteristics/metrics matching by personal profiles for compatibility).

Live Metrics is an intelligent matching process that gets smarter with use. Live Metrics programming logic makes adjustments instantly based on a continuous enrichment of stored characteristics measured against outcome performance. This is very similar to how humans learn, adapt and evolve. The concept is to have a computerized environment in a constant state of evolution redefining conditional logic on the fly in real time from both performance and behavioral changes it identifies from the data it processes. This is exactly what people do as they learn and adapt to life experiences. This characteristic matching is substantially more sophisticated than basic metrics matching because the computer actually gets smarter with use. The program improves its evolution process as it builds a deeper history of performance characteristics measured against logarithmic results in a range of negative to positive outcomes. Those of us involved in live metrics projects have come to think of our computers as super employees in part because their performance improves with training and experience. Think of a process where you call your computer “Hal.”

Hal begins his day with evaluating historical employee performances against current performance within an array of thousands of statistical, environmental and behavioral characteristics (metrics). Hal then tirelessly queries millions of potential smart match ups (employees and customers) constantly making readjustments as new leads, appointments and sales develop. Every smart match-up gets analyzed dynamically and is weighted against success probability outcomes. Such a task would be unthinkable if it were to be performed by human beings. Someone would have to cipher an enormity of records. All the records would need to be queried in a near infinite combination of match-ups which in turn would require an assignment of potential to opportunity based on millions of possible outcomes. No one can be expected to scan, query and evaluate all of this in a millisecond and then make an intelligent decision while remembering everything for eternity to apply toward the next matching of characteristics.

The goal is to brilliantly match inventory, leads, assignments, projects, sales and customers with the highest probability of maximizing every opportunity. It is not difficult to recognize that some employees within the sales organization are going to be better at making appointments with companies while others will exhibit strengths with closing sales. Other employees may demonstrate abilities within certain combinations of industries.

Some employees will show the ability to handle companies with intermediate numbers of employees or gross sales volumes while others will demonstrate they have the expertise to procure opportunity in companies with large numbers of employees. The same historical performance matching would scrutinize who is best at creating opportunities in companies by gross sales volume parameters. Aptitude, in a particular discipline, can be very important to the issue. Product usages, service delivery, new market penetration and customer retention, within these disciplines, can help to evaluate who best to match with opportunities heavily influenced by ability.

You cannot reap the benefits without first creating an opportunity and that is why maximizing opportunity is critical. You can define some obvious metrics/ matching as there are hundreds of configurable nuances and combinations of nuances including personalities, cultures, geography, age, gender and more that can be measured against success rates thus creating opportunity. The benefit you bring to your customers can be assessed through systems of measured accountability tied to objectives and customer satisfaction. Accountability can be calculated over an exhausting array of performance based outcome metrics including timelines. YTD Performance should be considered in tandem with the slope of the performance curve employees and team members currently are on. Hal will know if they are getting hotter or cooling down and can even identify when an employee might need to be re-inspired. Live Metrics will also look at new employees to find patterns associated with rising stars and give them opportunities for development while alerting their managers to pay attention to a promising up-and-comer. Consider that Hal will remember for eternity everyone’s all-time best recorded performance while considering everyone’s current potential!

Hal is not a person; it has no conscious thought and cannot replace the human interface of quality leadership, strong management or thoughtful words and encouragement. Managing people is a people process. Hal can and should bring a powerful tool for all of us mere humans to exploit. These are exciting times on the horizon of a new day in the business of business. With these tools at our disposal, our limits are defined by our personal potential. The better you are, the more improved the opportunities you will be matched to. Now how cool is that? Of all the operational changes hitting the new business world, none seem as exciting as those mandated from “Live Metrics.”