Machine learning is one of those terms that gets a lot of airtime but is often misunderstood. In essence, machine learning is a way of using artificial intelligence where programs can teach themselves. Unsurprisingly, this technology is already changing the way enterprises handle certain processes — and will only keep increasing their influence in the future.

Here are five innovative uses for machine learning in business.

Better Online Security

There’s no way to understate the importance of online security in today’s world. Almost 4,000 data breaches were disclosed by organizations in the first six months of 2019 alone, accounting for the loss of over 4 billion records.

Many people assume only large enterprises are at risk for data breaches. While these will tend to get the most public scrutiny due to their size, small and medium-sized businesses are often at greater risk than large corporations. Smaller companies with fewer resources can’t dial up the same level of cybersecurity as multinational players.

All businesses can benefit from using programs enhanced with machine learning to bolster online security. These programs can learn from past occurrences to continually strengthen networks, identify risks, and respond quickly. Machine learning uses data to help IT evolve alongside increasingly sophisticated threats.

Automation

Automation is set to be one of the defining technological advancements of the 21st century. But something so complex isn’t just going to happen on its own. For automation to thoroughly change the world, it needs to be driven by a powerful concept like machine learning. The possible uses are far greater when machine learning is incorporated into a product’s design; this way, products can become continually refined without requiring tedious manual adjustments at every step.

Self-driving vehicles are one of the best examples of how machine learning will affect automation for businesses. Of course, autonomous cars are going to be a huge revolution for all people. They have the potential to vastly improve vehicle safety. Furthermore, self-driving trucks can be more efficient on the road than human drivers, which can lead to massive fuel savings for companies who transport goods — like manufacturers and retailers.

Data Analytics

Data is the backbone of intelligent decision-making in the modern economy. Businesses are at a huge disadvantage if they lack strong data analytics today. Think about it—organizations with access to the deepest insights are going to have immense strategic advantages. This is where machine learning analytics comes into play.

Platforms like ThoughtSpot use this AI technology to provide increasingly relevant and useful insights to employees throughout a company. In essence, machine learning allows for more actionable insights to come from more places within an enterprise, faster than ever before. Analysts who used to have to wade through an ocean of data to find insights can focus on strategic projects, leaving the rote data mining to AI and machine learning algorithms.

Predictive analytics is another way machine learning makes data analytics more powerful for businesses. By utilizing predictive analytics, organizations can get a better idea of future trends and headwinds. Having these models allows business leaders to make much more informed choices when it counts.

Boost System Efficiency

Data analytics and automation are two of the best methods for boosting system efficiency. Unsurprisingly, both of these things have already been mentioned as two of the top ways businesses will harness machine learning. But there are still other ways machine learning can make enterprises more efficient.

For instance, organizations can utilize machine learning to track and understand things that never would have been possible in the past. Estimates by McKinsey show enterprises can potentially decrease delivery times by 30 percent through greater efficiency measures. Machine learning is essential for identifying these opportunities.

Chat Bots

A lot of people have negative connotations with chatbots. But what will you think of them when it’s impossible to distinguish between the bot and a human?

Chatbots aren’t just a thing of the future anymore. They’re here now and they’re here to stay. Machine learning helps facilitate natural language processing required for effective chatbots. By taking advantage of this technology, businesses can do a better job of serving their customers through more relevant communication. Additionally, chatbots are a more cost-effective solution than having a massive call center for low-level inquiries.

Overall, machine learning is going to have a massive impact on the future economy. Businesses that leverage this technology to their advantage are going to have the best position to grow going forward.