Chapter 2. Why Lean AI?

The hype around AI and machine learning (ML) has continued to gain momentum as every major industry, from marketing to healthcare to manufacturing to transportation to finance to retail and beyond, has started to leverage advances in AI and AI-based applications to improve productivity and performance. Economists have hailed AI as a core enabling technology of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”1 With all of this excitement, executives have started thinking about how their businesses will use AI to not only survive this revolution, but excel among their cohorts. According to PwC,2 AI will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Clearly, there is a huge opportunity for businesses to benefit from investing in AI. The MIT Sloan Management Review 2017 Artificial Intelligence Global Executive Study and Research Project found that 85% of executives believe that AI will help their businesses gain or sustain competitive advantage.

As with any technology that fuels the public and business imagination, there is a lot of confusion around the terms “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence.” Many people use AI and ML interchangeably, while others utilize them as discrete, parallel advancements. This confusion ripples into the common understanding of AI and ML, where much of the public discussing these advancements are unaware of the distinctions between the two. For some, this dilution of the terms is overlooked in favor of creating hyper-excitement ...

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