Demystifying AI – An Introduction for Enterprises
11 Min Read

Demystifying AI – An Introduction for Enterprises

Learn about key AI concepts and how ML and GenAI can provide business value to enterprises.

Long gone are the days when artificial intelligence (AI) was just a futuristic fantasy from a science-fiction movie. Today, AI is woven into the fabric of our daily lives, often working behind the scenes to personalize our experiences, optimize processes, and even entertain us. From unlocking your phone with facial recognition to receiving accurate product recommendations on online shopping platforms, AI has become an integral part of our interactions with technology.

But for businesses seeking to leverage the potential of the technology, AI can still feel like a complex labyrinth. Terms like Generative AI (GenAI) or Machine Learning (ML) get thrown around, leaving many decision-makers wondering: What exactly is AI, and how can it benefit my enterprise?

This blog post will give you a better understanding of key AI concepts, explore how ML and GenAI can provide business value to enterprises, and discuss considerations for responsible AI adoption. As you read, keep in mind this essential point: AI technology is a powerful tool that can support decision-making, optimize operations, and enhance customer experiences.

Understanding the AI Landscape

​​​​​​​What is AI?

The term artificial intelligence usually refers to the ability of machines to mimic human cognitive functions without explicit programming. These functions encompass a wide range of capabilities, such as learning and problem-solving, but also include visual perception, speech recognition, and language translation. AI systems are used in many different contexts, from personal assistants like Siri and Generative AI tools like ChatGPT to advanced data analytics and self-driving cars.

AI vs. ML vs. GenAI

There’s an abundance of acronyms floating around in the AI world, and while terms like ML, AI, and GenAI are often used interchangeably, understanding the subtle nuances between them is important for businesses hoping to leverage these technologies. So, let’s unpack these concepts and take a closer look at their unique functionalities and characteristics:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
    In technical terms, artificial intelligence covers a range of concepts, from simple rule-based systems used in email spam filters to complex deep learning algorithms in neural networks that operate self-driving cars. Colloquially, however, AI usually refers to the field of machine learning. But AI can do more than just learn from data; it can also reason, make decisions, solve problems, and even be creative. However, the level of these abilities depends on the specific AI system.
  • Machine Learning (ML)
    As a subset of artificial intelligence, ML powers many of the AI applications we encounter daily. ML uses an algorithm, often referred to as a model, to analyze and extract patterns from data. The larger the dataset, the better the training of the algorithm. Over time, the models become adept at making predictions, classifications, and recommendations, automating tasks, and improving decision-making – all based on the learned patterns. The term deep learning refers to a specialized form of ML that’s aimed at handling complex, unstructured data like text and images. Deep learning leverages neural networks designed to imitate the human brain in order to make increasingly accurate decisions. These networks consist of interconnected layers that process information, ultimately enabling sophisticated decision-making.

    ​​​​​​​Here are some key characteristics of ML:
    • Data-Driven Decision-Making and Task-Specific Applications. ML thrives on data. The quality and quantity of data an algorithm is trained on directly impact its performance. This data-driven approach empowers businesses to move beyond intuition or guesswork. The more relevant data an algorithm has, the more accurate its predictions become. This allows businesses to make informed decisions backed by insights gained from vast amounts of data, ultimately improving efficiency, saving costs, and establishing a competitive advantage. ML algorithms also excel at tackling specific tasks (Task-Specific) when designed and trained for a particular goal. For example, in transport and logistics, ML algorithms can optimize routes by analyzing traffic patterns, weather conditions, and historical data to find the best delivery routes, reducing fuel consumption and improving delivery times. And in the energy and utilities sector, smart and efficient grid management is made possible thanks to ML algorithms that predict energy consumption patterns and help balance supply and demand on the grid.
    • Supervised vs. Unsupervised Learning. Supervised learning involves training ML algorithms with labeled data, where each data point has a predefined outcome. For instance, an algorithm learning to identify spam emails would be trained on emails labeled as "spam" or "not spam." Unsupervised learning, on the other hand, deals with unlabeled data, and the algorithm tries to identify hidden patterns and structures within the data itself.
    • Generative AI (GenAI). ​​​​​​​As another subset of artificial intelligence, GenAI uses the knowledge it has gained through training to create entirely new content, including text, code, images, or even music. In this process, GenAI is capable of learning and then reproducing specific styles as well as generating new ideas based on existing data.
      ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Unlike traditional machine learning, which focuses on mapping input to output, GenAI can generate new and creative content. For example, if you train GenAI on a large collection of product descriptions, it will be able to generate new product variations for your online store. This is also where Large Language Models (LLMs) come into play. Used in GenAI solutions like ChatGPT and Google Gemini, LLMs specialize in text generation, capable of producing human-quality writing, translating languages, and even writing different kinds of creative content like articles, poems, or code. But the capabilities of LLMs extend beyond purely text-based formats. They can also be fine-tuned to generate captions, descriptions, or even scripts that serve as the foundation for image, music, and video generation.

Major AI Providers

The constantly evolving AI landscape has numerous cloud platforms that offer AI services catering to various business needs. Let’s take a look at some of the key players in the business:

  • Cloud Giants: Big tech companies like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) have emerged as leading providers of comprehensive AI solutions. These platforms offer a wide range of pre-built AI services, from ML tools and computer vision capabilities to natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning frameworks. The infrastructure provided by these companies allows businesses to leverage powerful AI functionalities without making massive in-house investments.
    • Microsoft Azure: Azure offers a suite of AI services like Azure Machine Learning, a user-friendly platform for building, deploying, and managing machine learning models. Additionally, Azure Cognitive Services provides pre-built AI functionalities for tasks like facial recognition, sentiment analysis, and object detection, streamlining development processes.
    • Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS houses a wide range of AI services under its Amazon SageMaker umbrella. The platform helps businesses simplify the entire machine learning lifecycle, from data preparation and model training to deployment and management. Additionally, AWS offers pre-trained AI models for tasks like image and speech recognition, text analysis, and anomaly detection.
    • Google Cloud Platform (GCP): GCP boasts a comprehensive suite of AI tools including Vertex AI, a unified platform for building, training, deploying, and managing machine learning models at scale. GCP also offers pre-trained AI models through its AI Platform services, covering areas like natural language processing, computer vision, and translation.


Deeper AI Integration
Through Liferay’s strategic partnership with Google Cloud, we are actively investing in building deeper integrations with Google Cloud's AI services, such as Vertex AI and Gemini. This ongoing effort aims to make it easier for our customers to leverage these powerful tools within Liferay DXP. Imagine building AI-enhanced chatbots, personalizing content recommendations with greater accuracy, or automating data analysis processes – all seamlessly integrated with Google’s AI and machine learning products.​​​​​​​

S​​implified Procurement
I​n addition, our availability on the Google Cloud Marketplace (learn more here) not only simplifies the procurement process of Liferay for Google Cloud customers but also supports enterprises in meeting their cloud spending commitments and enables them to quickly deploy, manage, and grow their DXP solution on Google Cloud's trusted infrastructure.


  • Specialized AI Platforms: Beyond the cloud giants, a rapidly growing number of specialized AI platforms are catering to specific industry needs or focusing on cutting-edge AI advancements. Here are two examples:
    • Hugging Face: Often called the GitHub of ML, this ML and data science platform focuses on democratizing access to state-of-the-art AI models, particularly in the field of natural language processing (NLP). As an open-source community, Hugging Face offers a large repository of pre-trained transformers – powerful neural network architectures that excel at various NLP tasks. Developers can leverage these models for tasks like text summarization, machine translation, and question answering, accelerating their NLP application development.
    • OpenAI: This research and development company is known for its groundbreaking work in large language models (LLMs) like GPT-3. LLMs are a type of AI that can generate human-quality text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer your questions. Although OpenAI's offerings are not directly accessible to all businesses yet, their research significantly impacts the field of AI advancements.

ML and GenAI: Powerful Tools for Enterprises

Using ML and GenAI to Create Business Value

As with many other transformative technologies, early adopters who invest in educating themselves about AI, ML, and GenAI will have the best chance of gaining a competitive edge and future-proofing their business. For example, both ML and GenAI offer great opportunities to unlock the hidden potential within all the data your enterprise has access to: ML can uncover valuable insights to inform strategies, while GenAI can transform your content creation process and personalize customer interactions.

Ultimately, by systematically leveraging AI, your organization can improve decision-making, automate and streamline operations, and enhance customer experiences.

In this section, we'll delve into the transformative power of GenAI and explore practical examples of how it, alongside ML, can empower businesses to achieve remarkable results.

Here are some practical examples of the business value ML can provide:

  • In healthcare, ML models are used for predictive diagnostics, analyzing patient data such as medical history, lab results, and imaging, to predict the likelihood of diseases like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. This enables early intervention and personalized treatment plans.
  • In finance, banks and financial institutions employ ML algorithms for fraud detection, analyzing transaction patterns, and detecting suspicious activities in real-time, minimizing financial losses and enhancing security.
  • In manufacturing, predictive maintenance services are based on ML, enabling the analysis of data from sensors on equipment to predict failures and schedule maintenance before breakdowns occur, reducing downtime as well as maintenance and service costs.
  • In marketing, ML algorithms can segment customers into different groups based on their behavior, demographics, and preferences, allowing businesses to tailor marketing campaigns to specific audiences for higher engagement and conversion rates.
  • In the telecom sector, companies can use unsupervised ML learning to analyze customer data (call logs, billing information) and group customers into different segments based on their usage patterns. This allows for targeted marketing campaigns and personalized service offerings.
  • Supply chain management across various industries uses ML algorithms for demand forecasting by analyzing historical sales data, market trends, and external factors, helping companies optimize their supply chain operations.

Here are practical examples of how GenAI can help unlock business value:

  • In customer service​​​​​​​ GenAI can ​​translate incoming requests into the agent’s language at a high speed, making it easy to understand and answer customers efficiently. In addition, AI-powered chatbots can not only answer routine questions but also engage in more natural and interactive conversations with customers. Nuances like responses that show empathy or personalized recommendations based on the customer's past interactions elevate the customer service experience and free up human agents to handle more complex inquiries.
  • In marketing, GenAI can support in many ways, like generating personalized marketing copy or customizing ad headlines and social media posts based on target audience preferences. GenAI can even be trained on a company’s brand voice and product data, automatically crafting unique descriptions for online stores.

  • In product design, GenAI can assist by generating design variations or optimizing product descriptions for different markets and target groups. If trained on existing product data and user reviews, GenAI can suggest new design iterations that address customer pain points or cater to specific market preferences, allowing for data-driven product development and accelerating time-to-market. 

  • In media production, GenAI can help with scriptwriting, music composition, and movie trailers. Just test the current free version of ChatGPT: it can analyze an existing script and generate new story ideas based on popular tropes, character arcs, or even specific genres. Alarmed by the rapid advancements in AI writing capabilities, thousands of television and movie writers staged month-long protests in Hollywood last year. Beyond seeking improved compensation, a key demand was to restrict the use of Generative AI (GenAI) in creative projects.


Dig deeper into AI in our blog section:

​​​​​​​Rethinking Content Management Systems: How Generative AI and LLMs Are Leading the Way
​​​​​​​How can you prepare for the new landscape of Generative AI and LLMs?
​​​​​​>>>Read the blog
How Integration with GenAI Can Streamline Content Creation in Liferay
Behind the Code: Liferay Engineer Wes Kempa Talks Liferay's OpenAI Content Wizard
>>>Read the blog
​​​​​​​How Can You Use ChatGPT to Reduce Costs and Improve Customer Experience in the Automotive Industry?
Can ChatGPT be helpful and if so, how do you use it effectively?
>>>​​​​​​​Read blog

Anchoring Creativity in Reality: The Importance of Grounding in GenAI

Do androids dream of electric sheep? The inclined science-fiction fan will recognize this question as the title of Philip K. Dick’s famous novel that served as the basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner. The central theme of the novel explores what it means to be human. Similarly, the existence of Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT or Google Gemini challenges us to consider what makes human-generated content unique and valuable, especially in the face of rapidly advancing GenAI tools.

There’s another interesting analogy between the novel and GenAI, specifically regarding theso-called "hallucination effect” of Large Language Models (LLMs). This effect refers to the tendency of LLMs to generate text that appears plausible but may not be entirely accurate or factually correct. If asked for sources or citations regarding incorrect information, the LLM might even respond with fabricated citations or sources.

Similar to the replicants in the novel, who are indistinguishable from humans on the outside, LLMs can generate “realistic” text that seems to have been written by a human, but upon closer examination may lack the depth, creativity, and even fundamental reasoning powers of a human mind.

One of the key concepts used to minimize unwanted results like the hallucination effect is commonly known as grounding, which connects the creative output of GenAI models to the real world, enabling content output that is not only original but also accurate, relevant, and useful. For this to happen, GenAI has to not only access original training data to generate an output but it can also use external sources to make sure the desired factual context is present.

Here are some best practices for companies to ground their GenAI solution and prevent problems like AI hallucinations (here’s a full list and tips on the implementation):

  • Upload relevant documents. Provide GenAI with an extensive knowledge base by uploading tangible resources that serve as reference points, for example, product specs, data sheets, brand guidelines, and writing samples. For example, a fashion retailer could upload product descriptions, size charts, and fabric details to ensure that GenAI generates accurate and consistent product descriptions.
  • Train GenAI on company data. By equipping AI with deep domain knowledge (transactions, logs, etc.), you allow it to tackle tasks with greater effectiveness and industry-specific understanding. For example, training GenAI on customer service logs and analyzing past interactions will lead to a better understanding of common customer inquiries and help identify frequently asked questions.
  • Input specific data. Feeding AI with data like customer profiles and keywords helps tailor its responses, making them both relevant and personalized. For example, feeding GenAI with specific legal documents and contracts relevant to a particular case will help generate targeted summaries and highlight potential areas of concern.
  • Feed real-world data continuously. Regular data updates keep your AI informed about real-world changes, preventing knowledge gaps and ensuring accurate, up-to-date responses. For example, regular updates with real-time news articles and social media feeds ensure reports or summaries generated reflect the most recent developments.
  • Leverage Google search. Google’s GenAI Gemini can be grounded with Google Search to connect the model with real-world knowledge, topics, and even up-to-date information from the internet.

Responsible AI: A Crucial Consideration

Although AI offers immense potential, it's crucial to acknowledge the ethical considerations. AI models can perpetuate biases present in the data they're trained on, leading to discriminatory outcomes. Additionally, the lack of transparency in some AI algorithms can make it difficult to understand how they reach their conclusions. That’s why ensuring responsible AI development and use is paramount. Here's why:

  • Fairness and bias. Biased training data can lead to biased outputs. Businesses should scrutinize data and employ debiasing techniques to provide fairness, accountability, and transparency in AI.

  • Transparency and trust. Algorithms that are a "black box" can erode trust. Businesses should strive for transparency in AI decision-making processes and provide explanations for outputs, allowing users to assess their validity. Clear communication about AI use builds trust. Users deserve explanations for GenAI outputs and an understanding of how the AI arrived at its results.

  • Human oversight. AI and ML should augment, not replace, human judgment. A "human-in-the-loop" approach ensures ethical considerations are factored in and safeguards against unintended consequences.​​​​​​​

  • Privacy and security. AI systems that handle sensitive data necessitate robust privacy and security measures. Enterprises should comply with data protection regulations and implement appropriate safeguards to protect user privacy.

By prioritizing responsible AI, businesses can leverage GenAI's power for good, fostering creativity and innovation while mitigating risks.


By demystifying AI and understanding its potential, enterprise businesses can use the technology to generate business value as well as drive innovation, efficiency, and growth. Whether it’s optimizing logistics with ML or creating engaging customer experiences with GenAI, the possibilities are endless. But when navigating the AI landscape, prioritizing responsible practices will be key to unlocking sustainable and ethical business value.

Embracing AI is not just about adopting new technologies—but about rethinking business strategies from the beginning to integrate these powerful tools effectively and responsibly.


Originally published
June 18, 2024
 last updated
June 19, 2024
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