Eric David Halsey
May 30, 2017 · 3 min read
Well… that’s a start. Photo credit: Richard Cocks via / CC BY-SA

*This is a modified version of a lesson taken from a course we’ve developed on how to use AI in your business. Check out the link for a full course description.

How hard is it just to get a ballpark estimate of what bringing AI into your business is going to cost? Short answer: harder than it should be. But we’re here to help. This lessons has a quick rundown of the relative costs of some common AI applications from people working in these industries.

Let’s start by looking at an increasingly common example: chatbots.

Take the simplest option of each of the 3 variables [What is the industry vertical, What level of interaction, and What action capabilities?] and that’s going to be around $30K. Now to the other extreme and you’re talking $250K and up

-Gam Dias

So between the cheapest and most expensive price points is an 830% difference. That’s…. indimidating.

Another software development firm estimates $6,000 to $12,240 for a simpler chatbot which isn’t, for example, designed to represent a major brand with the high standards that come with that. So in general, these numbers tell us that you can build a simple chatbot for a few thousand dollars, but developing something really advanced is going to run you 6 figures.

But what about implementing AI algorithms to analyze data? Krassimir (Casey) Paskalev suggestion focused on how this can be done quickly and efficiently with a data scientist:

Technically, the fastest cheapest easiest way [to extract conclusions from data] is that a data scientist has to sign an NDA and run with it for a day or a week. That will be cheap, that scientist will have lots of interesting insights and they can capture 90% of the business value that way.

But, Brandon Allgood, CTO at Numerate, points out that hiring data scientists isn’t the only way to go.

If you can’t afford a full-time data scientist or don’t think you have enough work for them, hiring a consultant is another possible route. But as you might expect, quality varies. As with all consultants, avoid those who may appear too good to be true.

On Upwork, for example, freelance data scientists charge between $36 and $200 an hour. They cite an average project cost of $400, though that can obviously vary a lot depending on the complexity of the algorithm and how much training it needs (our course has several lessons on how to compare major algorithms to find the right one for you).

Finally, for developing a full blown custom-built AI solution for something like augmented reality, supply chain optimization, historic performance analysis, or content categorization, the costs are much higher. AI.Works, a custom AI development company, breaks down its estimates like this:

Estimates only go so far, as once you get toward the later stages of development, there are too many extraneous factors to fully predict costs. But if you’re looking at building something to that scale, you can talk to a custom development company and get an estimate from them anyway.

This overview should give you a general idea of what you can expect in terms of developing chatbots, custom AI solutions, and simple data analysis algorithms. By now, you should know what’s feasible and in your budget. So what are you waiting for?

Of course if you still feel like you need more knowledge to confidently step into the world of AI and start using it to improve your business, we’ve built an entire course to help you do just that.

Source Institute

Relevant education to the world’s tech founders

Eric David Halsey

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Source Institute

Relevant education to the world’s tech founders

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