When you teach your children how to read, you don’t hand them a dictionary. You start with one letter, then move on to the next, hoping you know enough words that describe the letter “X” and can create a system from which they will learn on their own.

No one expects a toddler to suddenly pick up the morning paper and process the symbols inked onto the page into useable information—but even knowing that, they begin the long, tedious, (painful?) steps to ensure that one day their child, years down the road, can read the morning paper if they so choose.

The results are worth the pain in the end.

Yet when people hear about the developments of AI in business, many of them assume the process is pointless if the technology has not reached a level of newspaper-reading, so to speak. What would be the point of investing money and resources (often more than a professional’s salary) into a project that can only do a fraction of the work of the professional?

What is the point of teaching children to read if they do not already possess the ability of reading newspapers?

It all begins with simple steps. Simple processes. It takes time. The future of Artificial Intelligence technology in business must be laid out in a basic, foundational level today for it to fulfill its purposes a year—or several years—from now.

Organizations who wait on this technology run the risk that competitors working today to teach their AI to read will have them reading newspapers before the laggards are aware of it.  Disruption of that kind can change the pricing landscape in an entire industry overnight, wiping out companies who are not able to match the leaders’ level of automation.

AI is here now, and wise organizations will see beyond the limits of today’s technology and lay out a foundation for future success.