What are the advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence (AI)?

We’ve all seen the headlines about AI, both the good and bad. Regardless of what you think of the risks of using AI, no one can dispute that it’s here to stay. Businesses of all sizes have found great benefits from utilizing AI, and consumers across the globe use it in their daily lives.

But even people who are excited about AI can ask the question: what, exactly, are the advantages and disadvantages of using it?

In this article, we’ll discuss the major benefits and drawbacks of adopting AI, both in everyday life and in business. We’ll also talk through some use cases for AI, to give you an idea of how AI can help in your life. 

In this article we’ll cover:

  1. What is artificial intelligence?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of AI?
    1. Advantages
    2. Disadvantages
  3. Use cases for AI
  4. Implementing AI

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science dedicated to creating computers and programs that can replicate human thinking. Some AI programs can learn from their past by analyzing complex sets of data and improve their performance without the help of humans to refine their programming. 

As AI has boomed in recent years, it’s become commonplace in both business and everyday life. People use AI every day to make their lives easier – interacting with AI-powered virtual assistants or programs. Companies use AI to streamline their production processes, project gains and losses, and predict when maintenance will have to occur.

Learn more about artificial intelligence.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of AI?

There are always pros and cons to any technological advancement. There is a ton of debate about the benefits and risks of AI at every level. But beyond the headlines that either peddle hype or fear, what does AI do?

The advantages range from streamlining, saving time, eliminating biases, and automating repetitive tasks, just to name a few. The disadvantages are things like costly implementation, potential human job loss, and lack of emotion and creativity. So where do we net out?

Advantages of AI

Everyone knows that AI gives businesses an edge. The Appen State of AI Report for 2021 says that all businesses have a critical need to adopt AI and ML in their models or risk being left behind. Companies increasingly utilize AI to streamline their internal processes (as well as some customer-facing processes and applications). Implementing AI can help your business achieve its results faster and with more precision.

Eliminates human error and risk

The first major advantage of implementing AI is that it decreases human error, as well as risk to humans.

“To err is human…” - Alexander Pope, Enlightenment poet.

Everyone makes mistakes on occasion. That’s not always a bad thing, but when it comes to producing consistent results, it certainly can be. Using AI to complete tasks, particularly repetitive ones, can prevent human error from tainting an otherwise perfectly useful product or service. 

Similarly, using AI to complete particularly difficult or dangerous tasks can help prevent the risk of injury or harm to humans. An example of AI taking risks in place of humans would be robots being used in areas with high radiation. Humans can get seriously sick or die from radiation, but the robots would be unaffected. And if a fatal error were to occur, the robot could be built again.

24/7 availability  

AI programs are available at all times, whereas humans work 8 hours a day. Machines can work all through the day and night, and AI-powered chatbots can provide customer service even during off-hours. This can help companies to produce more and provide a better customer experience than humans could provide alone.

Unbiased decision making

Humans disagree and allow their biases to leak through in their decisions all the time. All humans have biases, and even if we try and solve for them, they sometimes manage to sneak through the cracks.

On the other hand, provided the AI algorithm has been trained using unbiased datasets and tested for programming bias, the program will be able to make decisions without the influence of bias. That can help provide more equity in things like selecting job applications, approving loans, or credit applications. 

Though if the AI was created using biased datasets or training data it can make biased decisions that aren’t caught because people assume the decisions are unbiased. That’s why quality checks are essential on the training data, as well as the results that a specific AI program produces to ensure that bias issues aren’t overlooked.

Repetitive jobs

Even the most interesting job in the world has its share of mundane or repetitive work. This could be things like entering and analyzing data, generating reports, verifying information, and the like. Using an AI program can save humans from the boredom of repetitive tasks, and save their energy for work that requires more creative energy. 

Cost reduction

As we addressed above, AI can work around the clock, creating more value in the same day as a human worker. And since AI can help to take over manual and tedious tasks, it frees up workers for higher-skilled tasks. That, ultimately, creates more value for the end-user or consumer. 

Data acquisition and analysis

When it comes to processing data, the scale of data generated far exceeds the human capacity to understand and analyze it. AI algorithms can help process higher volumes of complex data, making it usable for analysis. 

Discover the advantage of AI-powered insights in the flow of work. Introducing Tableau Pulse.

Try Tableau for free

Graphic of visualizations

Disadvantages of artificial intelligence

With all the advantages listed above, it can seem like a no-brainer to adopt AI for your business immediately. But it’s also prudent to carefully consider the potential disadvantages of making such a drastic change. Adopting AI has a myriad of benefits, but the disadvantages include things like the cost of implementation and degradation over time. 

Costly implementation

The biggest and most obvious drawback of implementing AI is that its development can be extremely costly. Depending on what exactly you need AI to do, the cost changes. One estimate says that the cost for a fully implemented AI solution for most businesses ranged from $20,000 to well in the millions

The cost balances out later on down the line once the AI is fully implemented and can help streamline the workflow. But the up-front cost can be intimidating, if not prohibitive.

Lack of emotion and creativity

The next disadvantage of AI is that it lacks the human ability to use emotion and creativity in decisions.

The lack of creativity means AI can’t create new solutions to problems or excel in any overly artistic field. One scientific paper posited that at the present stage of AI development, it can be programmed to create “novel” ideas, but not original ones. This paper posits that until AI can create original and unexpected ideas, it won’t overtake humans in the ability to be creative, which means it will be hindered in its decision-making. If a company is looking for a new or creative solution to a problem, humans are better capable of providing that solution.

When making sensitive decisions, humans inherently consider the emotional ramifications. AI doesn’t have that ability, making only the most optimal decision based on the parameters with which it has been provided, regardless of the emotional impact. Even AI that has been programmed to read and understand human emotion falls short.

In this study, the AI more often assigned negative emotions to people of races other than white. This would mean that an AI tasked with making decisions based on this data would give racially biased results that further increase inequality.

Compassion and kindness are both inherently human traits, but cannot be programmed into even the best AI. 


This may not be as obvious of a downside as the ones cited above. But machines generally degrade over time. For example, if AI is installed into a machine on an assembly line, eventually the parts of the machine will start to wear. And unless the AI has a self-repairing function, it will eventually break.

Likewise, the AI itself can become outdated if not trained to learn and regularly evaluated by human data scientists. The model and training data used to create the AI will eventually be old and outdated, meaning that the AI trained will also be unless retrained or programmed to learn and improve on its own. 

No improvement with experience

Similarly to the point above, AI can’t naturally learn from its own experience and mistakes. Humans do this by nature, trying not to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. However, creating an AI that can learn on its own is both extremely difficult and quite expensive. There are AIs that can learn, of course. Perhaps the most notable example of this would be the program AlphaGo, developed by Google, which taught itself to play Go and within three days started inventing new strategies that humans hadn’t yet thought of.

But without the programming to learn on its own, AI will need human intervention to help it improve over time. 

Reduced jobs for humans

This is yet another disadvantage many people know immediately, thanks to many headlines over the years. As AI becomes more commonplace at companies, it may decrease available jobs, since AI can easily handle repetitive tasks that were previously done by workers.

Now, many reports show that AI will likely create just as many new jobs as it makes obsolete, if not more. But then you run into the problem of having to train humans on these new jobs, or leaving workers behind with the surge in technology.

Ethical problems

The rapid creation and implementation of AI led to a myriad of ethical questions about its use and continued growth. One of the most common ethical problems people cite is concerns around consumer data privacy. The persistence of data poses many problems for the informed consent of the humans to whom the data belongs. Not to mention, since AI is good at recognizing patterns, it can gather data on people even without direct access to personal information. So the question is: how do we protect consumer privacy with the rapid evolution of AI?

Other ethical problems range from the unemployment question, to legal responsibility, and more. Learn more about the ethics of using AI in this article

Use cases for AI

There are dozens of possible examples of AI in business. We talked above about the uses of AI in helping to automate repetitive tasks, freeing up human workers for more complex tasks. Some other use cases include:

  • Early diagnosis of diseases in healthcare using AI that analyzes patterns and data to predict when/how a patient is likely to develop a specific disease.
  • Virtual assistant chatbots in customer service can handle simple and common requests, and help route requests to human resources for more complex tasks. These also help to provide support during off-hours and weekends.
  • Early detection of fraud in financial institutions. The AI analyzes patterns around fraud to catch it as early as possible, and prevent it from happening entirely.
  • Creation of predictive analysis to help a business project possibilities for their future, helping to prevent poor decisions and support strong ones.

Implementing AI 

It’s important for businesses to know the disadvantages inherent in using AI, however it is equally as important to move forward with utilizing AI. Knowing the disadvantages will help the deployer to solve these problems, allowing for a better, more efficient and ethical use of AI in the workplace.

Ready to use AI in your business? Learn how Tableau uses AI analytics to equip our users with the best possible data, allowing them to make informed decisions about their business.