When it comes to technology that has true potential to make our lives better, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is right at the top of the list in 2018. Everything these days from our smartphones to our refrigerators are digital, meaning AI is already poised to disrupt everything from the way we do business to the way we buy our groceries. But AI isn’t just about the future; it’s already being used in a number of brilliant applications that we use every day. A recent study by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) highlighted how some forward thinking retail businesses are starting to integrate AI into their sales models.

Some of America’s biggest companies have solidified their standing with this strategy. AI helps Uber get passengers in a vehicle as fast as possible, and helps Google and Amazon send information and targeted ads.

AI can also go deeper than this, even being smart enough to streamline a company’s decision-making processes and projections. AI technology helps companies optimize prices, telling business owners the ideal discounts to apply based on factors ranging from industry to quarterly timing. Similarly, AI can help with forecasting by predicting revenue with extreme accuracy. AI can also help companies target their most effective customer bases by optimizing Upselling/Cross-Selling procedures and identifying the best leads for marketing managers.

With so much potential for innovation in this field, institutions are coming up with innovative practical applications to help solve problems and streamline their businesses. Products like the Pepper Robot are currently being installed in stores and cafes to act as a first line of customer service, and provide visitors with an engaging and unique experience. The Microsoft store allows guests to interact with a humanoid customer service robot who can answer basic questions and help direct them to the proper resources.

Amazon has even started using AI to deliver packages with drones. Though still a pilot program, these airborne deliveries already seem to be the future of courier services, at least for one of the world’s largest online retailers.

There are other, more subtle ways in which AI is helping. At Changi airport in Singapore AI driven facial recognition is currently being used to check in passengers and their luggage. Tests are currently being run on this system to make it smart enough to find the face of a passenger who is lost or running late and help direct them to their flight before it takes off. This facial recognition technology will hopefully one day be able to streamline immigration and customs, and potentially even replace passports one day.