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Doing Business in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

I don’t see many people speaking about this, but artificial intelligence will fundamentally change how we do business.

It is already happening behind the scenes, but it is only visible to those who work in this field. 

Here are some examples.

Infinite Personalization.

Any decent newsletter service allows you to personalize the message to include the customer’s name and other personal data. But with AI, this can go so much further. For example, a color theme can be automatically selected for each user based on the time of day the email goes out and even the reader’s mood. The message will be sent in their mother tongue using a perfect translation. 

The presentation of your site will be uniquely tailored to each of your visitors or customers. 

This fine-grained personalization is impossible for a team of humans to handle, but it is trivial for an AI, especially when you aggregate data from multiple sources. It may not be possible for you, but you can bet the big guys are working on it. 

Each of us will begin to see and interact with their unique and custom version of the Internet. 

Next is the “No Code” “No Design” options. 

You will be able to describe to an AI system, in natural language, what you want to offer and to whom, and you will instantly get an app and a website built for it. AI will render most developers and designers obsolete and lower the barrier-to-entry for many inspired entrepreneurs and creators. 

Can a computer do it?

Your offer should be something that cannot be easily explained or described.

If you can explain it easily, then a computer can do it much faster than you and at a near-infinite scale. 

I believe most businesses will be surprised to wake up being obsolete overnight, but some pay attention and position themselves to take advantage of the upcoming tide.

Critique

There are some examples on the web where the AI is really dumb or comes up with solutions that make no sense to us humans. It is also said that AI will never be creative. 

We can add this to the long list of things that we previously thought a computer could not do. 

The development of AI (as with most things related to computers) has an exponential development curve. This means that the distance between a “dumb AI” and a superintelligence is not as long as we might imagine. 

We can choose to leverage this new powerful tool or resing to watching others do it. 

Building ZAPs!

Since I recommended you build an API into your service that integrates with Zapier, I figured I might as well give it a try myself, and not just talk theory

I was shocked to finish the integration without having to write one single line of code

But I am getting ahead of myself. 

Part of my skill up plan is to take a deep dive into automation. What a better way to study than looking at what the masters are doing? Or, in this case: Zapier. 

I’ve fired up their tutorial and was getting ready to crank some code! 

I have integrated APIs before, and if the documentation was clear and with relevant examples, I could get the hang of it pretty quickly and then extend it easily. 

As I am progressing through the tutorial, it dawns on me that this integration will be created entirely online, in the Zapier UI, by answering some questions and filling forms! 

My mind was going: “it cannot be that simple! Each API provider has its own interface or authentication mechanism… you would have to write some adapter for that!” 

No, sir! Not so! 

If the APIs follow the standards when it comes to authentication and passing data around using JSON, then Zapier has you covered! 

You answer the questions, you fill out the forms as instructed… and you’re done! No code required! And since there is no code required, there is nearly zero chance of having a bug in your integration. How cool is that? 

Needless to say, I am impressed. And I got another confirmation of why following standards is a good idea. 

Not quite like building with Legos

Even though I did not write any code, it did not feel like building with Lego blocks. But more like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Because the APIs are very diverse, you need to spend some time to connect the right pieces in the correct order. But since everything is built via filling forms, you have validation available and tests. There is immediate feedback if what you are making is not working as you’d expect.

I did spend two hours getting the final step to work. I almost contacted Zapier’s support to inform them that their builder is broken, but in fact, the problem was with me :). 

I had a typo in one of the data fields, and the error message I was getting from the API I was using at the time was very misleading (apparently on purpose). So it took me two hours to find that typo in my configuration and get the Zap to work. Take away here: please make your error messages clear; it will save you time in the future!

Just as with finishing a complex puzzle, seeing the success message was so satisfying. 

Why all the fuss?

Building a Zapier integration is so simple and straight forward that I can easily see AI building integrations and ZAPs in the (very) near future. This means that if you decide to provide an API that can integrate with platforms like Zapier, your service may be used in ways you cannot even imagine. The pieces can be interconnected in infinite ways to create something new, exciting, and why not: disruptive!

Keep on creating the new paradigm.