AI and Machine Learning, what is it, and why is it important for the future?

More and more companies implement AI and ML to be more competitive, but what is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and what is the difference? 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) was coined as a term by the American computer scientist John McCharty in 1956 and was then defined as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines". The term AI is widely used today for different types of software where the program mimics human behavior of learning from previous experiences and how to draw conclusions from those experiences.

Machine Learning (ML)

Machine Learning (ML) is a field within AI devoted to understanding and building methods on which computers can learn to recognize, for example, patterns, behaviors, or trends. There are many different approaches to Machine Learning; however, they are traditionally divided into three broad categories:

  • Supervised learning - The algorithms receive data containing both inputs and the desired outputs to learn how to mimic these. 

  • Unsupervised learning - The algorithms receive only input data and must find patterns in it without knowing the excepted output.

  • Reinforcement learning - Reinforcement learning algorithms receive different rewards depending on how close the outcome is to the desired result. The algorithm's goal is to maximize the cumulative reward or, in other words, get as close to the desired result as possible.

What can AI be used for?

Examples of what AI can be used for:

  • Find patterns and trends in historical data and use this to forecast future data.

  • Automate manual tasks that historically haven't been possible to automate due to the need for human judgment.

  • Draw conclusions from large volumes of data.

  • Give new insights.

AI to stay competitive

More and more companies implement AI to be more competitive. McKinsey & Company wrote in their report The State of AI in 2021 that 56% of respondent companies in 2021 used AI for at least one function in their Company, an increase from 50% in 2020. RELX Emerging Tech Executive Report 2021, one of the leading annual reports on AI, reported that 93% of responding executives believed that AI could make their companies more competitive.

The use of AI is advancing in more and more areas. Helping decision makers take better decisions and decreasing the amount of manual work. Some of the more prominent trends within AI that RELX sees in the RELX Emerging Tech Executive Report 2021 are:

  • Improved forecasting with AI.

  • Increased integration of AI in human decision-making.

  • Increased automation with AI.

How Mercur implements AI in Mercur Business Control

Mercur has created a tool that, with the help of AI, can create forecasts from historical data. The tool uses a variety of AI models to analyze historical data and find trends or patterns on which it can make a predicted future outcome.

Mercur Business Control helps you save time and gives you a better basis for decision-making when forecasting. These forecasts can then be included in reports or charts like any other data in the program. Mercur Business Control can, for example, automatically suggest AI-predicted values in the forecast and budget forms instead of you having to fill them in manually. Furthermore, it is also possible to copy or manipulate data centrally to create fully or only partially automated forecasts.

Contact us for more information on how your business can benefit from using AI 


Mercur Solutions (UK) Limited - UK office

Mercur Solutions Limited
Ocean House, The Ring, Bracknell RG12 1AX, United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1344 388 025

Mercur Solutions AB - head office in Sweden

Mercur Solutions AB
Vretenvägen 13, SE-171 54 Solna
+46 (0)-459 69 00


Malmo Office

Stortorget 3, SE-211 22 Malmö


Kyrkogatan 24, SE-411 15 Göteborg

Mercur Solutions

A Swedish company with over 40 years of experience, delivering solutions for performance management and business intelligence.




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