Essay on Adoption of Artificial Intelligence and Related Technologies in Education and E-Commerce Industry Sectors

Published: 2021/12/15
Number of words: 4399

Executive summary

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have been highly adopted by many industries globally. Two of the leading industries to adopt these technologies are the education and e-commerce industries. Research on the education sector shows that 1 in 10 learning institutions have deployed and invested in AI. 1 in 5 are conducting a pilot, and only 1 in 3 lack plans in Artificial Intelligence. Similarly, a study on the e-commerce sector in 2019 shows that the number of businesses adopting AI grew by 270% in four years, with most of the growth occurring between 2018 and 2019. Also, statistics indicate that 9 in 10 leading businesses have an ongoing investment in AI. This paper aims to discuss the adoption of AI and related technologies in the education and e-commerce industry sectors. The paper discusses the factors that influence the adoption and implantation of AI in both industries. The need for personalization, tutoring, and providing education access to students with special needs are factors that influenced adoption in the education sector. Similarly, the e-commerce industry has needed to personalize its customer needs and build a robust inventory management system. There have been different kinds of AI technologies adopted by these sectors, such the Big data, chatbots, and robotics.

The paper uses education journals articles to look at the benefits both the education and e-commerce sectors encounter. Task automation, saving time, personalized tutoring, efficient sales, and dynamic pricing are some of the benefits discussed. Additionally, the paper compares the benefits and outcomes in the two industry sectors. Moreover, just like any other technology, adopting these technologies in the industries has had its challenges. The education sector has reported high costs of bridging the digital gap, ethics, and data transparency issues. Also, e-commerce has experienced human capital gaps and challenges in data collection. Further, for better adoption and implementation of these AI technologies, the paper recommends hiring data scientists and planning an AI budget for its businesses.

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1.0 Introduction

Artificial Intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence demonstrated by machines. Typically, AI-powered machines have an intelligent entity that gives them the capability of performing tasks intelligently without being explicitly instructed (Carroll 2020). Currently, AI is the big talk in all technological conversations. It lives within everyone’s daily lives, surrounded by the use of the internet and mobile devices. Similarly, businesses and governments have increased their use of AI techniques and tools to improve business processes and solve recurrent business issues. The adoption of these tools and techniques has brought about exciting realities that have never been experienced in human social life. These forms of reality have resulted in individuals spending a considerable amount of time on social media platforms and various technological environments for social and professional reasons.

The interactivity of AI technologies is majorly on the internet. This interactivity has evolved in broad dimensions of mobility and intelligence. With technological advancements in internet speeds and connection capacity, networked digital solutions have moved to the cloud. On the question of intelligence, AI’s concern is more on simulating intelligent behaviors or tasks that are observable in plants, animals, and the human world. As a result, robots have emerged and can perform activities such as grasping an object and moving it to another position. A chatbot is another example of an intelligent technology that has the capability of conversing with consumers through their natural language and assist them in making a good decision such as that in purchasing products.

Another technology that relates to the AI field is augmented intelligence. It involves achieving human and machine collaboration through synergistic intelligence. This is significant, especially for digitally supported businesses and life events, as it creates room for improving both machine intelligence and human intelligence through both human and machine support. It is mainly used as a decision support system. For example, in the e-commerce sector, augmented intelligence has been used to provide statistics for the number of customers who abandon their carts and analyze the data to get their reasons. It offers solutions capable of optimizing the e-commerce store to reduce the abandonment of shopping carts.

Moreover, there have been emerging automation technologies relating to the field of AI. Automation technologies are involved where digital interactions are faced with dealing with a large amount of structured and unstructured data. This has led to the development of tools and techniques to deal with and support the utilization of ‘big data’ through cloud computing. Consequently, outsourcing software and hardware at the cloud gave rise to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the automation of processes and operations (Muthukrishnan et al. 2020). Significantly, the revolutionary approach to automation has influenced the development of business dynamics across different sectors.

2.0 Factors that influence the adoption and implementation of AI technologies in the education and e-commerce industry sectors.

Over the years, the education and e-commerce industry sectors have been experiencing an accelerated adoption and implementation of AI technologies. In the education sector, a study shows that 1 in 10 learning institutions have deployed and invested in AI. 1 in 5 are conducting a pilot and only 1 in 3 lack plans in AI. In the e-commerce sector, research in 2019 shows that the number of businesses adopting AI grew by 270% in four years, with most of the growth accruing between 2018 and 2019. The data also outlined that 9 in 10 leading businesses have an ongoing investment in AI. Below are the factors that drive the adoption and implementation of AI technologies in the education and e-commerce sectors.

2.1 Education sector

In education, the first factor is personalization. It is nearly impossible for a teacher to effectively manage a class of over 30 students accounting for all their weaknesses and strengths. Scientifically, every individual is different in one way or another. The level, rate, and speed of learning are not the same for everyone. As a result, poor personalized approaches to learning programs have been one of the leading causes of student exam failures. AI-powered solutions have been introduced to counter these failures. These technologies analyze the students’ learning histories, identify weaknesses, and provide various personalized learning opportunities best suited for improvement.

Tutoring is another factor influencing the adoption of AI in the education sector. It is prevalent for students to require extra help outside the classroom. However, many teachers lack this free time to offer their students as they have personal matters to attend to. A study done in India among senior students shows that out of 100, 40% of the students expressed the desire for extra classes to fill gaps in their lessons. Another study indicated that students who were not very good at their courses expressed feelings of embarrassment to asking questions and additional help in front of their friends (Chen, Chen, and Lin 2020). Personal tutoring and support for students outside the classroom are significant to keeping learners up with their course. This developed the need for AI tutors, AI-powered chatbots, and virtual assistants to help learners improve their weak spots and sharpen their skills outside the classroom.

Another factor driving AI adoption in education is the need to ensure access to education for students with special needs. Students with special needs have to be treated uniquely to ensure that they also get quality education. With the adoption and implementation of AI technologies, new ways of interactions for students with disabilities are created. AI offers solutions to these students, such as image recognition for visually impaired students, lip-reading recognition for students with hearing impairment, and text summarization for students with mental impairment.

2.2 E-commerce sector

Similar to the education sector, the need for customer personalization has been a factor that has influenced the adoption and implementation of AI technologies in the e-commerce sector. Research shows personalized product recommendations for people who shop online increases conversion rates by 915% and by 3% on average order values (Ruiz-Real et al. 2021). E-commerce use of big data impacts the consumers’ choices thanks to its knowledge of browsing habits, product searches, and previous purchases. The need for personalization in e-commerce is beneficial in ensuring the business retains high numbers of returning consumers and improves sales.

Moreover, the need for robust inventory management in e-commerce has driven its adoption in AI. To avoid losses of idle stock, AI-enabled inventory management maintains the right level of inventory that fulfils the market demand. In a survey conducted in 2018 by Coresight Research, misjudgments in inventory decisions accounted for an estimated 53% of unplanned markdown costs for retailers (Ali and Ahamed 2020). To curb these losses, e-commerce businesses are implementing and adopting AI-enabled inventory management technologies.

3.0 Different kinds of AI technologies adopted by organizations in the education and e-commerce sector.

3.1 Big data

Both the education and e-commerce sector has adopted big data technologies. Big data is a field that deals with the various ways of extracting, dealing with, or analyzing complex sets of data. There amount of data offline and online is massive, ranging from human beings, animals, routines, preferences, and many more. This enormous stockpile of data, when appropriately harnessed, can give valuable analytics and insights. In the education sector, AI synchronizes with Big data analytics for multiple purposes; to track and analyze when students log in to the school’s portal, time students spend on different system pages, the overall student’s performance progress. Furthermore, the education sector uses Big data to measure the effectiveness of teachers concerning courses offered, number of students, behavioral patterns, and many other data.

Study shows that the growth of big data analytics technologies is ranked as the top frontier of innovation and competition in the giant spectrum of the e-commerce landscape (Girdher 2019). In the e-commerce sector, Big data has been adopted in many ways. For instance, online retailers are constantly tasked with identifying the next best-selling products before their competitors. Usually, this process involves a lot of guesswork. However, Big data employs the ability to predict trends through trend forecasting algorithms. Moreover, Big data in e-commerce makes it possible to optimize prices, demand forecasting, and customer services, among others.

3.2 Chatbots

Chatbots is another AI technology adopted by education and e-commerce organizations. Chatbots are computer programs able to simulate conversations with humans. They are capable of providing support and solutions to humans. In e-commerce, chatbot technologies are used in many ways. For instance, they are used in automating order processes. Research shows that chatbots used in automating order processes offer a lower cost option of providing customer services than paying a human. Chatbots have also been adopted in e-commerce because of their ability to provide instant support to customers.

Chatbots technologies are adopted mainly in the education sector to provide personalized learning. As stated earlier, it is almost impossible for a teacher to meet the needs of all students in a classroom. Learning institutions have adopted chatbots to improved students’ interactions. They have been considered as the future of education. Chatbots can automate repetitive teaching tasks and instantly respond to student queries relating to their courses or assignment (Hatwar, Patil, and Gondane 2016). Furthermore, education chatbots have been adopted to support students. They help students get information about their library memberships, hostel facilities, scholarships, and more.

3.3 Robotics

Another AI technology adopted by organizations in the education and e-commerce sector is robotics. Robotics is the use of robots, programmed machines, to perform human tasks. The e-commerce sector has been having a rapid growth in the acquisition of robotic technologies. Despite the current global economic uncertainty due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the adoption of robotics and automation technologies has kept growing. It is expected to account for 22% of all retail sales globally in 2023, compared back to 2019, which was at 14.1%. As one of the biggest organizations in the e-commerce industry, Amazon uses robotics technologies in its warehouses to safely navigate through the crowded facility without colliding with anything and pick a required product and deliver it to the required station (Pallathadka et al. 2021).

In the education sector, robotics has been highly adopted in educating students with disabilities. Robotics technologies have enabled students with autism to learn social skills and how to communicate. Students with attention disorders and development issues learn how to focus. Robotics has offered constant companion and health monitoring systems to individuals with severe physical disabilities. Technically, robots can be programmed to suit the need of any student in offering special education.

4.0 Benefits of adopting AI technologies in the education and e-commerce sectors.

4.1 Education sector

The adoption of AI technologies in education benefits both the two main groups, the educators, and the learners. Starting with the educators, AI technologies free up the time used by educators to analyze learners’ performances and automate tasks, therefore, closing the education gap. For example, AI is used in automating the most mundane tasks such as grading papers, assessing learners’ patterns, doing administrative work, and responding to general student’s questions. A Telegraph survey was done to estimate how teachers spend their time and found out that 31% of teachers’ time was used to plan lessons, perform administrative work, and grade tests (Huang 2021). AI benefits educators by automating these manual processes and leaving more time for teachers to focus on their competencies.

Answering of same questions over and over to different people may in a day feels annoying at times. For this reason, the education sector has adopted the use of AI chatbots. These chatbots are programmed to access the entire knowledge base of the learning institution. As a result, students can converse with the bot and get their generic and repetitive questions answered. This also saves time for both the student and the educators. AI-powered chatbots also save educators from having to answer frequent general questions over and over again.

Moreover, learners in the education sector also benefit from adopting AI technologies by gaining 24/7 universal access to learning and personalized tutoring. A 24/7 universal access to learning implies that students will not have to move physically to school to access lectures and learning materials. Learners can access education from home or whatever place they are. An example of a highly adopted AI technology, for this reason, is Content Technologies, Inc (CTI). CTI is a machine that creates personalized textbooks and concept-based coursework using algorithms (Lee 2020). With CTI, students can study on the go at any place of their desire. Also, they can create their schedule based on times they feel to be more productive.

Another learning benefit is personalized tutoring. As stated earlier, learners have unique preferences and experiences. The traditional tutoring approach of a teacher standing in front of a classroom and giving out a lecture has been proven to be ineffective as students’ level of knowledge differs. AI technologies can adapt to student’s level of knowledge and preferences to ensure they get the most out of their education. An example of an AI technology that personalizes tutoring is Cram101. Cram101 allows the turning of textbooks into smart study guides. These smart study guides provide bite-sized content that enables easy learning in a short amount of time. Furthermore, it can generate questions with multiple choice answers, thereby helping students learn more effectively.

4.2 E-commerce sector

The adoption of AI technologies in e-commerce has enabled the sector to retarget its potential customers. According to Conversica, up to 33% of marketing leads lack a sales team follow-up. Research shows that after-sale follow-up is a primary factor in retaining potential customers (Kaur 2020). AI in e-commerce uses Big data to analyze customer purchases and follow-ups responses to forecast customer preferences. By doing so, AI can retarget its potential customer to purchase preferred products when available.

Also, the e-commerce sector benefits in creating a more efficient sales process. Currently, AI systems like Alexa and Siri can process natural language voice inputs. This means that customers can ask queries, and the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can respond to their problems. Moreover, the CRM system can identify new opportunities for the sales team. An example of an IBM AI technology used in e-commerce is Watson. Watson enables online shoppers to discover the perfect products they are looking for. It achieves this by asking consumers specific questions about what they want and allows them to respond through voice input. It then scans multiple options and offers a perfect match product based on real-time customer input.

Additionally, AI technologies have enabled dynamic pricing for products offered in e-commerce. Product prices constantly change and vary in different factors. AI technologies use machine learning algorithms and big data to dynamically adjust the prices of products in real-time based on specified factors. This is beneficial to the industry as it saves the cost of factor analysis and time used to adjust product prices manually. Significantly, these technologies can help in predicting future prices.

5.0 Challenges experienced by the education and e-commerce businesses in the adoption of AI

5.1 Education

All the amazing AI technologies need reliable and stable electrification, hardware, and internet connection for them to operate. Currently, all of these are not readily available around the globe. In fact, during the current Covid 19, starting an online education has been marked as a key opportunity during the pandemic. However, setting up the hardware and introducing AI technology is very expensive. Research shows that despite the pandemic forcing the adoption of these technologies, 30% of third-world countries have not started online education businesses. The education business has the challenge of the high cost of bridging the digital gap.

When adopting and implementing AI, various societal and ethical concerns must be addressed. In any discussion of data ethics, questions would be asked concerning security and data privacy (Dukhanina and Maximenko 2020). AI technologies require the use of personal data for security purposes. However, the use of personal data to ensure the individual privacy preferences is protected has been a challenge. A study on cyber-attacks indicates that cases of security breaches have been on the increase as attackers are always targeting new technologies. Also, the education business faces the challenge of ethics and transparency.

5.2 E-commerce

The main challenge faced by e-commerce businesses is the human capital gaps. Concerns of lack of understanding on how the AI technologies work have been outlined. According to the Deloitte survey, the concern of lack of skills in AI adoption was estimated at 31%. That has led to the need for e-commerce businesses to invest in training their human capital to understand AI technologies’ dynamics.

E-commerce businesses are also faced with the challenge of data collection. AI technologies require data to process its data analysis, algorithms, and machine learning for accurate outputs. Currently, Gartner has predicted that 85% of AI technologies will provide bad outcomes based on the biasness of data, algorithms, and the people handling them (Prof. Lakshmi Narayan. N | Naveena. N 2019). This comes from present issues concerning incorrect responses from customers, inadequate agents, and bias perspectives. AI technologies are not conscious beings, and they only act based on available information. With poor data collection, AI technologies provide wrong information leading businesses to losses.

6.0 Comparison of benefits and outcomes across organizations in the education and e-commerce sectors.

6.1 Commonalities

AI technologies in both the education and e-commerce sector save time. AI technologies in e-commerce are used in the pricing of products. The traditional pricing methods were manual and would take a lot of time, especially for a large organization with many products. Likewise, as stated earlier, educators spend a lot of time grading, analyzing performances, and accessing learning patterns. AI adoption has automated all these activities, thereby saving the educator time.

Also, AI technologies offer personalization for both education and e-commerce sector organizations. As stated earlier, in the education sector, students’ levels of knowledge differ. Each student has unique experiences and preferences, making AI’s ability to personalize their tutoring a plus. Similarly, AI in e-commerce can offer a personalized approach to meet customer’s needs. AI analyzes customer’s preferences and purchases and recommends personalized products for the customers.

Moreover, the benefits and outcomes of AI technologies in education and e-commerce benefit both the organization and the consumers. In e-commerce, for instance, when AI technology recommends the right product to the consumer, the consumer benefits from the saved time that would have been spent in searching for the product. As a result, the consumer remains loyal to the business. On the other hand, when consumers are loyal to the business, the organization benefit from an increased sale, which is profitable to the organization.

6.2 Differences

E-commerce organizations adopting AI technologies benefit from the option of retargeting their potential consumers. This means that in e-commerce, the number of consumers only counts when a customer makes a one-time purchase. Once a customer makes a purchase, the customer must be retargeted again to make another purchase. In the education sector, its consumers, do not have to be retargeted frequently as they are tied down to school calendars and semester terms. This gives them a forced approach to interact with the adopted AI technologies.

Adoption of AI technologies by consumers is easier in the education sector compared to the e-commerce sector. For instance, in e-commerce, the customer can directly interact with a chatbot when in need of making a purchase. When the purchase is made, and the consumer doesn’t need to make another purchase, there may be no interaction with the chatbot. Moreover, if the customer doesn’t like using the chatbot has the immediate option of choosing a different store. On the other hand, students in the education sector are always registered as part of the school’s organization. They lack that immediate option of changing the school when they are not comfortable with a new AI technology in school. The students are also tied down to school terms. In most countries, it is not allowed to switch schools in between terms. As a result, students in education have a better chance to faster adopt AI technologies due to the time factor.

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7.0 Recommendation

For the education and e-commerce businesses to implement AI technologies successfully in the future, I recommend AI budget planning and an approach to hiring talents in Big data analytics and Data Science. Acquisition of AI technologies does not come at a zero budget. For this reason, both the e-commerce and education sectors have experienced these challenges in implementing AI technologies. A poll conducted by Deloitte on how businesses started their AI journey indicated that 51% of respondents expressed readiness to increase investment in AI by 10% in one year. However, the other 49% expressed concerns regarding its high costs of implantation. With an AI budget plan, both the education and e-commerce businesses can plan their budget appropriately without straining their financial capabilities. The approach to hiring talents in Big Data analytics and data science will be significant in solving the challenges of the human capital gap, poor data collection, and systems failure. AI technologies are more productive when handled by expert personnel. High AI talents can take into account AI ethics and tackle embedding downside of AI solutions efficiently.

8.0 Conclusion

In conclusion, the adoption rate of Artificial Intelligence technologies in education and e-commerce has been rapidly rising over the years. Adoption of these technologies has been influenced by the need for personalization, robust tutoring, efficient inventory management, and granting people with special needs access to education. These organizations have adopted different kinds of AI technologies. Big data, chatbots, and robotics are some of the AI technologies adopted by the education and e-commerce sectors. Significantly, these businesses have benefited greatly from adopting AI technologies. The education sector has been able to free up more time for the educators and learners who have benefited from an easier and faster way to get responses to their questions as well as personalized tutoring. Also, AI in the e-commerce sector has enabled its businesses to retarget potential customers, create more efficient sales processes, and have a dynamic product pricing feature. Even so, the adoption of these technologies experiences various challenges. There is a high cost of bridging the digital gap and issues related to ethics and data transparency for the education sector. The e-commerce sector is also faced with human capital gaps and poor data collection. To ensure businesses successfully implement and adopt AI technology, it is significant for these businesses to hire talents in Data Science and Big Data analytics. This will ensure businesses maximizes all the benefits of AI technologies. Moreover, AI budget planning will also ensure the successful implementation of AI technologies because they all come at a cost. Typically, the adoption of AI technologies has been a strategic factor in the modern success of organizations today.

9.0 References

Ali, E. Mubarak, and S. Basheer Ahamed. 2020. “A Study on Artificial Intelligence in E – Commerce.” Our Heritage.

Carroll, Whende M. 2020. “Artificial Intelligence.” In Emerging Technologies for Nurses: Implications for Practice.

Chen, Lijia, Pingping Chen, and Zhijian Lin. 2020. “Artificial Intelligence in Education: A Review.” IEEE Access.

Dukhanina, Lubov N., and Alexandr A. Maximenko. 2020. “Problems of the Implementation of Artificial Intelligence in Education.” Perspektivy Nauki i Obrazovania.

Girdher, Shaffy. 2019. “Role of Artificial Intelligence in Transforming E-Commerce Sector.” Research Review Journals.

Hatwar, Nikita, Ashwini Patil, and Diksha Gondane. 2016. “AI Based Chatbot.” International Journal of Emerging Trends in Engineering and Basic Sciences (IJEEBS) ISSN (Online).

Huang, Xiaodong. 2021. “Aims for Cultivating Students’ Key Competencies Based on Artificial Intelligence Education in China.” Education and Information Technologies.

Kaur, Manpreet. 2020. “Role of Artificial Intelligence in E-Commerce.” Journal of Critical Reviews.

Lee, Alwyn Vwen Yen. 2020. “Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIEd).” In ICCE 2020 – 28th International Conference on Computers in Education, Proceedings.

Muthukrishnan, Nikesh, Farhad Maleki, Katie Ovens, Caroline Reinhold, Behzad Forghani, and Reza Forghani. 2020. “Brief History of Artificial Intelligence.” Neuroimaging Clinics of North America.

Pallathadka, Harikumar, Edwin Hernan Ramirez-Asis, Telmo Pablo Loli-Poma, Karthikeyan Kaliyaperumal, Randy Joy Magno Ventayen, and Mohd Naved. 2021. “Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Business Management, e-Commerce and Finance.” Materials Today: Proceedings.

Prof. Lakshmi Narayan. N | Naveena. N. 2019. “A Study on the Applications and Impact of Artificial Intelligence in E Commerce Industry.” International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development.

Ruiz-Real, José Luis, Juan Uribe-Toril, José Antonio Torres, and Jaime D.E. Pablo. 2021. “Artificial Intelligence in Business and Economics Research: Trends and Future.” Journal of Business Economics and Management.

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