Skip to main content

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Changing How the World Does Business

November 16, 2023
Four business professionals working together around a laptop.

According to McKinsey’s 2022 Global Survey on AI, artificial intelligence (AI) adoption worldwide has more than doubled since 2017. Robotic process automation, computer vision, natural language processing, and virtual agents rank highest among the AI technologies that companies and institutions are embedding in their products or processes.

The rapid rise of AI will have a profound impact on global productivity, economic growth, innovation, and the way we work, according to a joint study from the European Commission (EC) and the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). PwC research confirms this, concluding that 45 percent of total global economic gains by 2030 will come from AI product enhancements (e.g., greater variety and increased personalization) stimulating consumer demand. In sum, AI has the potential to contribute around $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2034, with some regional economies expecting more than a 26 percent boost to GDP.

Already, AI in operations settings has boosted demand for technical specialists and savvy business managers. To benefit fully from AI, businesses will need strategic leaders who can assess and apply innovative technologies to solve increasingly complex business challenges 

Earning a Master of Global Business Administration (GBA), like the online global MBA offered by The Fletcher School at Tufts University, provides the context needed to understand technology trends and become an effective business leader operating in the international marketplace.

How Global Business Leaders Harness AI Tools Today 

The advent of new technologies—like generative AI and machine learning tools—has radically changed how the world does business. Change won’t be confined to the West. The International Data Corporation estimates that artificial intelligence spending in the Asia/Pacific region will climb to $78.4 billion in 2027, while the Atlantic Council reports robust AI growth in Africa.

Among businesses that have already adopted AI, the most popular applications include customer service, cybersecurity, fraud management, and inventory management. Around 40 percent of larger companies use AI to improve customer service agent productivity, create personalized customer and employee experiences, streamline how people find information, and resolve frequently asked questions. 

Global business leaders need to understand AI’s potential to improve performance across various departments and business functions. This article identifies several significant ways businesses can benefit from AI adoption. 

Prepare for the Future of Business at The Fletcher School

Develop the Skills to Anticipate International Business Trends
Find Out More

Transforming Customer Engagement 

AI is playing a significant role in transforming customer experiences across industries, delivering better customer experiences while improving productivity and operations on the backend. According to a Forbes Advisor survey, 73 percent of businesses use or plan to use AI-powered chatbots for instant messaging (brands like Sephora and Marriott International use chatbots to provide always-on support). Moreover, 61 percent utilize AI to optimize emails, and 55 percent apply it for personalized services such as product recommendations (Netflix uses machine learning to analyze customer data and provide personalized recommendations). 

In line with this trend, CRM giant Salesforce recently launched its AI Cloud suite. It features auto-generated, personalized emails for marketing and customer service teams and auto-generated user insights for commerce teams, all designed to create a better customer experience and improved productivity. 

Making Sense of Big Data 

As companies advance their digital transformation strategies, they collect massive amounts of data that must be stored, organized, and analyzed. A recent survey by Salesforce indicates that 80 percent of senior IT leaders believe generative AI will help their organization take better advantage of data. AI can help make sense of big data through:

  • Data integration: AI can ingest, transform, and connect data from diverse sources, ensuring a unified dataset for analysis. For example, Uber uses machine learning models to forecast rider demand and pick-up and drop-off ETAs based on various data sources such as the rider app, traffic reports, and weather forecasts. 
  • Data analysis: AI tools can process and analyze data much faster than is humans. Walmart, for example, uses AI on a large scale to predict product demand and optimize inventory levels to ensure popular products are always in stock.
  • Data visualization: AI-driven tools like Tableau can help companies create interactive and insightful data dashboards. 

Using AI for data collection, analysis, and visualization enables companies to spot trends faster and make better, more informed decisions to improve business operations and strategy. 

Automating Business Processes

Businesses look to AI applications to Increase efficiency and productivity. Sixty-four percent of business owners believe that AI can improve productivity, and 53 percent already apply AI to improve their production processes.  

AI has the potential to improve many business processes, including: 

  • Communication and marketing: From marketing copy to internal emails, companies increasingly use AI tools like Chat GPT to write content faster. Editing tools like Grammarly also use AI to suggest grammar and style improvements.
  • Customer support: Many businesses use AI-powered chatbots to handle customer inquiries and support requests. Chatbots provide instant responses, freeing human agents to focus on more complex issues.
  • HR: Human resources professionals can use AI-driven platforms to streamline talent acquisition and people operations processes. AI tools can rapidly process large amounts of data, such as compensation trends and candidate job histories, allowing HR teams to focus on higher-level tasks such as engaging with promising new hires. 

Optimizing the Global Supply Chain

AI has the potential to transform supply chain management, resolving end-to-end supply chain challenges and improving the financial performance of technologically advanced businesses. Of the 700+ global companies IBM identified as outperforming their peers in supply chain operations, 95 percent stated that AI was central to their innovation success. 

AI and cognitive computing can improve material quality, optimize inventory levels, and ensure preventative maintenance happens when necessary. AI is also useful for risk management. Machine learning algorithms can accurately track and predict supply chain disruptions, providing enhanced visibility into day-to-day operations. AI tools can also recommend alternative actions for unplanned events and transportation disruptions.

Concerns About AI 

Despite their promise and potential to improve business operations and performance, generative AI tools still have limitations, such as algorithmic bias. For example, a study published by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that facial recognition AI misidentifies people of color more often than white people. 

Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund has raised concerns that new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning could widen the gap between rich and poor countries by driving investment to advanced economies with established automation. Potential job losses—should business leaders choose to replace human employees with AI tools–and the impact of this uncertainty on staff members represent additional AI-related concerns.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Other areas in which AI poses significant ethical challenges include:

To avoid negative impacts, modern business leaders need a nuanced understanding of AI and its impact on economies, cultures, and people. Global MBA programs can help prepare you to have these crucial conversations within your business so you can address the limitations of AI head-on. 

Consider a Global MBA Designed for the Future of Business 

As an aspiring 21st century business leader, you must learn to navigate borders across disciplines, geographies, and technologies. That’s why a global business program will prepare you to understand AI and implement it strategically.

The Tufts Online GBA master’s curriculum focuses on developing core business competencies—such as finance, strategy, and leadership—within the context of the international factors that affect global businesses, including geopolitics, global security, supply chains, economic policy, emerging market dynamics, and law and regulations. Course work is primarily offered online, though the program includes two in-person immersion sessions (one on the Tufts campus in Medford, MA, and the other in an international location) focusing on project management and international business that facilitate hands-on learning and networking opportunities. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Tufts GBA master’s program or are ready to apply, contact the admissions team today. 

Master the Complexity of the Global Marketplace

Earn a Global MBA from Tufts
Apply Now