In the latest Business Record Leaders Survey, an unscientific poll conducted annually with our readers, we asked business community leaders and executives for their opinions on a variety of topics, including the intriguing and always-developing area of artificial intelligence. The Business Record’s Feb. 28 Power Breakfast will offer a more substantive discussion on this topic.

What is artificial intelligence? We’ll turn to an expert to help out:

In an article in Harvard Business Review, the writer offered this definition: “The most important general-purpose technology of our era is artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning (ML) — that is, the machine’s ability to keep improving its performance without humans having to explain exactly how to accomplish all the tasks it’s given.”

Artificial intelligence is already present in our daily use of gadgets such as smartphones or social media. But its growth in the business sector is also rising and has the potential to transform some industries.

Here are some thoughts offered by Greater Des Moines leaders on the topic.

— Suzanne Behnke, Editor, Business Record

Question: My company already uses artificial intelligence in business operations and decision-making. Yes or no? Tell us how.

Andrew Kleis, partner, Insight Wealth Group
Industry: Banking and finance
Yes. There are a number of areas of our business where we utilize artificial intelligence and technology with the goal of making us better at what we can deliver to clients.

Joseph Benesh, president and CEO, Ingenuity Co.
Industry: Tech and innovation
Yes. The mobile application and software development side of my business utilizes AI as part of the development process.

Scott Turczynski, vice president and partner, Heartland Cos.
Industry: Real estate and development
Yes. With manpower shortages, I can already see the need to invest in research to figure out how artificial intelligence/automation can be used in our corner of the construction industry.

Jaimie Miller, executive director, Iowa Credit Union Foundation
Industry: Banking and finance
Yes. We do use data analytics to consider consumer trends, but much of what we do is still about personal relationships.

Doreen Hayek, projects administrator, University of Northern Iowa
Industry: HR and education
Yes. Recruiting. But we need to use it more; learn better how to use it.

Susan Judkins, client development director, RDG Planning & Design
Industry: Real estate and development
Yes. Software programs based on personnel skills or other data.

J.L. Warren, research scientist, DuPont Pioneer
Industry: Tech and innovation
Yes. Predictive algorithms based on years’ worth of data are the now, and the future.

Stephen Fry, president, Spindustry
Industry: Sales and marketing
Yes. We use artificial intelligence to guide portions of our marketing advice to clients.