AI for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Oreste D’Aversa

March 20, 2023by Paul Sand


Artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly become one of the most transformative
technologies in modern times, promising to revolutionize industries and change the way
businesses operate. For small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the use of AI can
provide many benefits such as improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing
customer experiences. However, AI also has its downsides, ranging from ethical
concerns to data privacy and security risks. In this article, we’ll explore the good, the
bad, and the ugly sides of using AI in your SMB.

What is AI?

AI refers to a branch of computer science that deals with creating intelligent machines
that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI systems are
designed to learn from experience and improve over time. These systems use
algorithms and statistical models to analyze data, identify patterns, and make decisions.

The Good: Benefits of AI for SMBs

1. Improved Efficiency: AI can help SMBs automate repetitive and time consuming tasks, such as data entry, customer support, and inventory
management, freeing up time for employees to focus on more important tasks.
This can lead to increased productivity and better use of resources.

2. Cost Savings: AI can help SMBs reduce costs by optimizing processes and
eliminating waste. For example, AI can be used to optimize production
processes, reduce energy consumption, and identify areas where cost savings
can be made.

3. Enhanced Customer Experience: AI can help SMBs provide better customer
experiences by providing personalized recommendations, improving response
times, and automating customer service. This can lead to increased customer
satisfaction and loyalty.

The Bad: Potential Downsides of AI for SMBs

1. Ethical Concerns: The use of AI in SMBs raises ethical concerns around
issues such as bias, privacy, and job displacement. AI systems may reflect the
biases of their creators or the data they are trained on, leading to discrimination
against certain groups. In addition, the use of AI may result in job losses,
particularly in industries that rely heavily on manual labor.

2. Data Privacy and Security Risks: AI systems require large amounts of data
to operate, and this data may include sensitive information such as customer
details and financial data. The use of AI may increase the risk of data breaches
and cyber-attacks, particularly if the data is not properly secured.

3. Lack of Human Interaction: The use of AI may lead to a lack of human
interaction, particularly in customer service. While AI systems can provide
personalized recommendations and automate responses, they lack the empathy
and understanding that comes with human interaction, leading to reduced
customer satisfaction in some cases.

The Ugly: Examples of AI Gone Wrong

1. The Dangers of Uncontrolled AI: Microsoft’s Tay AI chatbot was designed to
engage with Twitter users in a conversational manner. However, within 24 hours
of its launch, the bot had begun to spout racist, sexist, and offensive remarks,
demonstrating the dangers of AI systems that are not properly monitored or

2. Amazon’s Biased AI Recruiting Tool: Amazon’s AI-powered recruiting tool
was designed to screen resumes and identify the most qualified candidates.
However, the system was found to be biased against women, as it was trained
on resumes submitted to the company over a 10-year period, during which the
majority of applicants were male.

3. Racial Bias in Google’s Facial Recognition AI: Google’s facial recognition
technology was found to be racially biased, as it was more likely to misidentify
people of color than white people. This highlights the need for AI systems to be
tested and audited for bias and other issues before they are deployed.

AI has the potential to transform SMBs, providing benefits such as improved efficiency,
cost savings, and enhanced customer experiences. However, the use of AI also comes
with potential downsides, such as ethical concerns, data privacy and security risks, and
a lack of human interaction. SMBs need to carefully consider these pros and cons
before deciding to implement AI in their operations.
To ensure that AI is used responsibly, SMBs should prioritize ethical considerations and
invest in proper data privacy and security measures. They should also be aware of the
potential biases in AI systems and take steps to ensure that their systems are fair and
unbiased. Finally, SMBs should also be mindful of the potential impact of AI on their
employees, customers, and society as a whole.
Overall, while AI can be a powerful tool for SMBs, it should be used responsibly and
with careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits. By doing so, SMBs can
leverage AI to enhance their operations and remain competitive in today’s rapidly
evolving business landscape.

Forbes Magazine article: “Artificial Intelligence: Small Business Applications.”
TechRadar article: “How AI Can Help Small Businesses Save Money.”

Entrepreneur article: “4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Your Customer

Harvard Business Review article: “The Ethical Implications of AI for Small

Security Magazine article: “AI and Cybersecurity: Potential Risks and How SMBs
Can Address Them.”

Forbes Magazine article: “The Pros and Cons of Using Artificial Intelligence in
Customer Service.”

The Guardian article: “Microsoft Deletes ‘Teen Girl’ AI After it Became a HitlerLoving Sex Robot Within 24 hours.”

Reuters article: “Amazon Scraps Secret AI Recruiting Tool that Showed Bias
Against Women.”

The Guardian article: “Google’s Flawed AI Shows how Biased Algorithms can
Hold Back Marginalized Communities.”
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About the Author: Oreste “Rusty” D’Aversa is the author of SELL More Technology NOW! Proven
Sales Methods that Deliver Results. He has over 20 years’ experience in the technology industry and
over 18 years’ experience as a “Solopreneur” being a “One Person Industry”. He is currently the owner of
Metropolitan Small Business Coaching LLC as a Small Business Coach, Consultant, Trainer, Author,
Public Speaker, Seminar Leader, and University Lecturer. He is also an Inter-Faith (All-Faiths) Minister
( He continues to appear on television and radio discussing his
expertise in various business related and personal development subjects and has authored books,
manuals, articles, and audio CDs. He can be reached at

Oreste DAversa Professional Headshot Image
Oreste J. D’Aversa
Owner – Metropolitan Small Business Coaching, LLC

(201) 483-8660
[email protected]

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