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How artificial intelligence is redefining apps - Intuit Developer Community Blog

June 12, 2020 | George Chiramattel

How artificial intelligence is redefining apps

In his recent article, Brian Gorbett talked about demystifying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), proclaiming that every business in the world should be an AI company. In this article, I concur that claim and base it on three factors:

  1. Businesses are now recognizing more and more the power of collecting large quantities of data to improve business processes.
  2. Increased availability and lower cost of Compute.
  3. Advances in algorithms.

Together, these factors are beginning to revolutionize the way organizations in every industry conduct the way they do business and are on their way to revolutionizing the way developers build their apps.

How AI is redefining apps

In simple terms, AI is technology that has been designed to emulate human reasoning. Intelligent machines take mounds of data, learn from it, and redeploy outputs that automate and increase personal and professional efficiencies.

For example, how many people do you know that use a virtual assistant? Starting in 2011 with Siri and followed closely by Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Bixby, conversational interfaces have allowed us to voice—not type—our requests. Need to set an appointment, know the song playing on the radio, track a package, or make a reservation? Just ask. They understand what we say through AI-powered technology. 

Another example of AI’s influence is seen in the financial industry – transformed by technology, benefiting from increased visibility and task automation. In addition, cash flow decisions, forecasting, scenario planning, comparing “what-if” options, and compliance is becoming easier because of AI.

So, with AI becoming ingrained within our culture, industries, and user expectations, developers such as yourself need to start rethinking the way you develop your apps.

Traditionally, software development begins with coming up with a great idea for an app. You then code your mobile app. Only after these steps is AI added to enhance the application. I believe that’s going to change.

AI will be moving from an add-on to an integral component of the app from the get-go.

This development shift can be compared to the introduction of mobile. Apps were first developed for desktop/laptop usage, followed by the development of the mobile version. That flipped when tablet and smartphone usage dominated the landscape, introducing the “mobile-first” software development approach we see today.

Developing your app for mobile consumption is now the norm; developing your app with AI first (not last) will be the new norm.

The benefits of an AI-first approach

We already touched on some examples of how AI has positively impacted our personal and professional worlds, but let’s look at a few more benefits of an AI-first approach to app development.

Making AI the nucleus of your app will deliver:

  • Continuous, automated analysis of user behavior and patterns: information you need to make your app even more user friendly
  • The high-quality, custom experience users are now expecting. For example, product recommendations, notifications, and content based on their behavior and preferences.
  • The learning, reasoning, and solutions required to improve your app (possible through advanced technology and machine learning, not human trial and error.

The result? A mobile app that seemingly optimizes itself using data gleaned from the behavior of the users your app was designed for in the first place.

Smarter, more accurate, connected—there’s no end to the benefits of lassoing the power of AI technology. Intuit has already recognized the benefits in QuickBooks Online, as seen with our AI-powered suggestions for payment due reminders.

Bottom line: AI has been here for a long time, and it’s here to stay. As a developer, if you want it to succeed, you should be prepared to see—and embrace—changes in the process, tools, and programming languages you use when developing your mobile app.

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