AI forms the basis of computer systems handling tasks such as voice recognition and translation on smartphones, piloting driverless cars, and controlling robots that automate chores in homes and factories. In research, AI is being used in a growing number of applications, such as processing the enormous amounts of data that underpin fields including astronomy and genomics, producing climate models and weather forecasts, and identifying signs of disease in medical imaging.
The 2019 AI Index Report, published by the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence in California, estimates that global private investment in AI in 2019 was more than US$70 billion. The US, China, and Europe took the largest share; Israel, Singapore, and Iceland were found to invest heavily in per capita terms. Start-ups founded on AI technologies are a major part of the ecosystem, garnering more than $37 billion globally in investments in 2019, up from $1.3 billion raised in 2010, according to the report.
Revenues have also skyrocketed. The International Data Corporation (IDC), a market research company based in Framingham, Massachusetts, predicts that worldwide revenues for the AI market will total $156.5 billion in 2020, an increase of 12.3% over 2019. Although growth in 2020 is slower than in previous years due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IDC expects that global revenues will surpass $300 billion in 2024.
AI-enhanced technologies and solutions are now more widely available than before across industries, though they are not necessarily cheap to implement. Voice-based assistants are at the forefront of the AI adoption process in industries as diverse as IT, automotive, and retail. Smaller-scale AI as seen in chatbots enables smaller brands to save resources and improve customer satisfaction. An increasing number of AI-enhanced tools are available as software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Mobile devices and apps have become one of the easiest ways to deploy AI technologies across industries, whether it’s in the form of voice assistants, smart monitoring and control, personalized shopping experiences, or warehouse management apps. AI is present in intelligent applications, neuronal networks, AI platforms as a service, and AI cloud services.
Emerging AI technologies include augmented intelligence, which seeks to enhance human intelligence and edge AI, where AI algorithms are processed locally without the need for an internet connection (such as some forms of face recognition).
According to the Artificial Intelligence Index Report, AI computing power keeps doubling every 3.4 months. Active use of AI has been instrumental in expediting diagnostics, development of vaccines, and treatment protocol for the Covid-19 pandemic. The need of the hour is, therefore, to enhance the capabilities of human beings with the support of these intelligent machines while attempting to keep the apprehensions at bay. A leader in any organization will, therefore, need to develop skills to seamlessly fuse this ‘mechanical’ workforce with ‘human’.
At the same time, however, AI has also raised ethical questions that brands that adopt it on a large scale now have to consider more carefully than before. AI governance, or the process of creating policies that address the negative implications of AI, will likely continue to attract attention until the capabilities of AI and their impact on human lives are fully defined.
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