I look forward to a world with artificial intelligence (AI). Personally, I see the power of AI being embedded into all of our current technology. We currently live in a world of simple AI. We can ask Siri or Alexa to active our lights, send a message, or read our e-mail. The goal is to be able to query complicated searches, cross-check data, provide insight, and aid with decision-making instantaneously. The power of AI lies in its ability to gain knowledge from data and market intelligence, not just to help the individual, but also to scale a company’s ability to improve performance and efficiency.
While the current investment wave of AI is at an all-time high, high-level adoption remains low. A recent research paper from the McKinsey Global Institute, “Artificial Intelligence, The Next Digital Frontier?” reported high investment into AI. In 2016, companies invested $39 billion, tech giants invested $30 billion, and startups invested $9 billion. That is three times the investment growth since 2013. Early adopters of AI have the common characteristics: digital maturity, larger business models, the adoption AI into core activities, the adoption of multiple technologies, a focus on growth over savings, and C-level support for AI. High AI adoption is focused into the telecom, automotive, assembly, and financial services industries. The retail, media, and CPG markets are adopting medium AI and education, while health care and tourism are adopting low-level AI.
The benefits of AI are spread across four specific areas: smart research and development, optimized production and maintenance, targeted sales and marketing, and enhanced user experience. But even with all this heightened interest, only 20% of firms are adopting AI, while 41% of firms are uncertain about the benefits it can bring. The rest are not considering AI adoption at this time.
The diagram above highlights the areas where money has been invested into artificial intelligence research and deployment. (Image courtesy of McKinsey Global Institute)
AI is poised to upset several industries. Just like the Internet of Things (IoT) has started to take off and is now being implemented by several major industrial companies, those same companies need to start formulating their AI gameplans. Jay Jacobs is a vice president at Global X Management Company, an investment firm, and has served as its lead researcher since 2013. In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, he identified four major tech categories that will be worth future investment. Along with automation and manufacturing industries, the forecast of robotics and AI will cause great rifts in several industries.
“We view robotics and AI as a transformational theme because its disruptive force is not limited to industrial manufacturing,” said Jacobs. “Healthcare is one non-industrial segment that is rapidly adopting robotics technology. Artificial intelligence is an essential component to the advancement of robotics technology. AI allows robots to not just execute on human or pre-planned inputs, but also to operate in an unstructured environment and make decisions.”
In short, AI will allow us to operate outside of the limitations human beings. We will able to shorten our work cycles, relieve burdensome busy work, and process data faster, inspiring us to devise more creative and unique solutions to our current problems.