Here’s how 3 metro Detroit businesses are using Artificial Intelligence to their advantage

Businesses in metro Detroit are embracing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to make their work easier. 

As an industry currently valued at $95 billion dollars, AI's worth is growing at an annual rate of 32%, according to Next Move Strategy Consulting. In 2030, it’s expected to hit a value of nearly $2 trillion dollars. 

Dr Helet Botha, Assistant Professor of Business Policy and Strategy at the University of Michigan-DearbornDr Helet Botha, Assistant Professor of Business Policy and Strategy at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, says AI can take over the functions that do not constitute meaningful work.

“The type of work that by that person doing that thing it’s not enhancing their odds of bettering employment in the future or really developing their skills and their intellect,” Botha says. 

While the technology can make a business better at its core offerings, like increasing efficiency, Botha warns that it’s important to look out for biases that AI tools may be creating. 

“Because we’re training the algorithm on existing data, the algorithm may be perpetuating the biases in society because that’s where it’s getting its training data from." 

It’s also important to make sure that employees experience a level of agency, Botha says, pointing out that when people don’t sense their agency, they’re more likely to engage in unethical behaviors at work like embezzlement. 

“I don’t think we can avoid the issues, but I do think we can exercise judgment in how to use these tools so that they have benefits for a broad group of people,” Botha says. 

We talk to three metro Detroit businesses using AI, about the challenges and advantages they are seeing across very different industries. 


Waymark, a video creation company based in Detroit, is using AI to generate videos for businesses to create advertisements. CEO of Waymark, Alex Persky-Stern says the team wanted to make something that was unique and custom to the user's needs to make creating videos easier.  

CEO of Waymark, Alex Persky-Stern. Photo by Scot Ferguson.“It’s honestly night and day,” Persky-Stern says. “It’s the difference between having a blank piece of paper and typing the essay yourself and looking at an already well-crafted essay and being like ‘yup, looks good I’ll make a few tweaks’.” 

The company uses a combination of over 13 different AI applications including Open AI, an AI research and deployment company known for creating ChatGPT. They took the foundation model of one of Open AI’s Large Language Models, like ChatGPT, and trained it using the videos that Waymark has produced in the past. They also receive licenses from companies to use their online assets like videos, audio, and logos. 

Waymark uses AI to scan a business's online assets and match them with text. With the text, the AI application can create a voiceover that sounds similar to a human’s voice to go with all the other elements in the video. 

There’s a really interesting mix of the way people think about AI, Persky-Stern says. 

“I think on the one hand they’re like ‘wow this is insanely powerful and can do anything’ and then on the other hand there’s the story of ‘it doesn’t really work yet, this isn’t real’ and I think both of those are real.” 

There are powerful cases of using AI, but it’s getting more practical every day, Persky-Stern says.

He says it can be challenging to work with from a technical perspective as it’s still in its early stages. Sometimes AI can be unpredictable, so it’s important to have a team behind you that really knows what they’re doing, he says. 

With concerns about AI lowering the number of workers needed in the field, Persky-Stern says it’s actually increased. “We’re growing,” he says. “It’s absolutely boosted our business's success so we’re adding people because of AI.” 

Jet’s Pizza

Jet’s Pizza franchise, founded in Sterling Heights, is also using AI to make ordering a pizza easier through mobile ordering.  

Jet’s uses ORDRAI, an AI company that delivers voice and text ordering for chain restaurants. ORDRAI takes machine learning, or the ability for a computer to learn something without being programmed, and uses internet services like WOW or Xfinity. It then does the translation between natural language processing, giving computers the ability to understand spoken words or text, and audibilizes that to the phone bot. 

Aaron Nilsson, CIO of Jet’s Pizza. Photo Supplied.“The systems are advanced enough now that the common tone and cadence you would use and diction that you would use when you’re talking to your friends is something that the systems are able to keep up with,” says Aaron Nilsson, CIO of Jet’s Pizza.

When COVID-19 hit, Jet’s saw fewer workers available and believe AI is their best bet at fighting the labor shortage. 

There’s a narrative that AI can “take your job”, and it can in different industries, Nilsson says. “But in our case, we needed it to do the labor that we didn’t have.” 

“It’s saving the stress of our workers,” Nilsson says. 

AI can be a bit of a learning curve, however. Nilsson says not everyone loves the concept of interacting with an AI product. 

“When my grandmother or my mom orders, she may not want to talk to a robot,” he says. “But we’ve structured our user experience so that you don’t have to, we’re not forcing AI on people.” 

Nilsson believed AI is going to go far in the restaurant business, and that it’s the perfect storm for technology to help this industry. 

“In the future, you’re going to see AI help drones figure out the best flight paths to deliver pizza to your porch.” 

Detroit Medical Center 

Detroit Medical Center is using AI in radiology to diagnose patients with brain or lung issues and improve patient outcomes.  

Aldo Ruffolo, Specialist in Chief of Radiology at Detroit Medical Center. Photo supplied. Aldo Ruffolo, Specialist in Chief of Radiology at Detroit Medical Center says one of the AI programs they use is called VISAI, a diagnostic tool. The tool is programmed to look for potential risks like large vessel occlusions, a blockage in one of the brain's main arteries. It will then notify the team of radiologists and neurologists if it finds a positive diagnosis in a patient. The AI can also be used to look for pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots blocking one or more arteries, in the lung. 

AI helps radiologists become better and faster at diagnosing patients, Ruffolo says. 

“When we are evaluating something like a stroke or an inclusion in a brain from a blood clot in the brain and you miss something there’s an increase in mortality,” he says. 

“The more time you save, the more brain you save.” 

But Ruffolo shares that there’s a misconception that AI can do all the work.“I look at it more as a co-pilot than I do as a replacement for what I do,” he says. “I still have to verify if it’s positive.” 

Unless AI can diagnose every single type of pathology, then we may see a decrease in workers, Ruffolo says. “It’s not going to decrease the number of people we’re going to need in medicine anytime soon.” 

The challenge in the medical community, however, is that AI is not cheap, Ruffolo says. “We don’t get paid for using it.”

It can also be hard to get people to accept this new technology but Ruffolo believes that as medical professionals and the public become more educated on how AI works, the tools will become more accepted. 
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