Artificial intelligence (AI) has already impacted nearly every aspect of society as we know it. We chat with bots online to place an order. When going to a fast-food restaurant, we select our order from a machine and then go to the counter to pick it up. AI is changing nearly every industry in some way.
By the year 2025, the AI industry should reach about $60 billion. The growth in tech abilities has been phenomenal and is set to grow even more in coming years.
Despite the negatives to the increase in AI, such as loss of jobs, there are also a lot of positive changes. Even though AI is reducing some jobs, new ones in technology appear. AI makes our lives easier and advances what we’re capable of as a society. There are some specific ways the progress impacts different industry segments.
What Are AI’s Capabilities?
When you think of artificial intelligence, you might think of I, Robot or Terminator. Are robots set to take over the world, or do humans control what they do? Since humans program the computers, we are in control to an extent, and there isn’t a cause to worry. Of course, there will be blips along the way as the technology grows, but overall, AI changes our life in positive ways.
AI’s most significant benefit is how it takes vast data banks and combines them in what is called machine intelligence. Although the human brain is amazing, we can’t process as much information as rapidly as a machine can. However, we can use a machine to learn from previous knowledge and study the resulting reports for our creative endeavors.
Keep in mind that the capabilities AI has in 2019 are likely to expand in 2020 and beyond. We may not even be able to grasp some of the changes at this point, because the human brain has trouble keeping up with all the advances. However, you can likely imagine a world where everything is automated and menial tasks delegated to a machine. Will the machine be in the form of a housecleaning robot? We already have those in the form of automated vacuums, so it’s likely more machines will be available to take on our unwanted chores.
Where AI Is Heading
Think about the many ways in which technology has already changed your life. Houses are smart and adjust the temperature or remember to shut the garage door when you forget. You talk to a smart speaker to order pizza or play your favorite music list. Expect even more inventions for the Internet of Things in the next few years. It’s hard for people to imagine all the daily tasks which will become easier than they are now.
There probably isn’t an industry AI won’t touch in some way. Some industries will feel the impact more than others, but AI has even affected industries using more traditional methods, such as small businesses and landscaping companies.
Impact on Industries
Of course, AI impacts different industries in various ways. AI helps businesses run more efficiently and reach heights never seen before. It’s impossible to cover every industry out there, but here are a few leading industries and the ways AI impacts them.
One of the most joyous times in a couple’s life is when they decide to have a family. Unfortunately, the process isn’t smooth for every family, and some couples seek out fertility treatments. One issue can be with timing for some couples, and smart apps such as My Days tracks users’ daily activities and predicts the best time to get pregnant. Expect AI to impact testing and data the doctors use to help couples get pregnant, too.
Some jobs in the construction industry are highly dangerous, such as operating cranes from great heights or moving heavy equipment. In addition to those types of dangers, workers often are out in conditions detrimental to their health. AI technology is improving safety for construction workers by better tracking conditions from the building lot to the stress points on a building. Clothing with sensors that show when a worker is overheating or in distress also improve working conditions.
The restaurant industry is always looking for ways of improving the services they offer customers. AI helps with voice-activated reservations, delivering push notifications to users downloading their app and even in-house with food inventory tracking and point-of-sale reports.
With the increase in the use of sensors, expect to see even more noteworthy works of art protected with smart systems that notify museum directors of changes in conditions, such as an increase in moisture or excessive heat. AI could even predict when a painting needs restoring to remain as beautiful as the day the artist finished it or when a marble statue is about to crack so conservators can take preventive measures.
AI is already useful in business intelligence to gather massive amounts of data and predict sales trends or analyze how best to serve customers. Expect computers to get faster and reporting more refined with time. As the industry continues to grow and prices come down, expect to see smaller businesses taking advantage of AI.
AI impacts the health care industry in some remarkable ways that are helping surgeons save lives. It’s now possible to map out an intricate surgery through a computer program and run through different scenarios to see which works best. Then, printing a 3D model allows surgeons to try the techniques hands-on before performing the method on a real human.
Education is, perhaps, one of the industries that will realize the most significant impact of AI. Students already take online courses, but they’ve become more and more popular. AI is useful in numerous ways for online learning, including algorithms that help provide grades and systems that search for plagiarism on the part of the student. Expect more courses in computers and IT, as well as specific learning on AI systems and databases. The types of degrees offered are likely to change drastically in the coming years, although the impact will likely be slow and not complete by 2020.
How AI Will Impact Business in 2020
Researchers predict AI will be one of the top investments for retail businesses by 2020. AI will filter through elements such as customer service, business decisions, inventory control, and event logistics.
Even though people have long worried computers will take away jobs, the opposite seems to be the case. New predictions show jobs will increase due to AI, although the jobs will have a different type of focus. AI helps workers be more productive and successful, which helps businesses grow and ultimately adds jobs.
Perhaps online businesses will change the most. Expect online retailers to add more automated chatbots, but with more accurate responses. Virtual assistants will become better equipped to handle tasks such as answering emails or culling information and sending out newsletters with less human management on the backend.
Moving Toward Transparency in AI
Because of the many concerns with the use of AI, there is more of a push today for transparency in how companies use the technology and when they use data based on machines. Customers demand more upfront practices when brands use AI to market to them or pull them into the store. When businesses share their methods, consumers are more likely to go along with the technology and be OK with the use.
At the same time, businesses have to use caution when storing information. Changes in laws about keeping personal information private, such as the GDPR, prohibit businesses from keeping customer info without a good reason. Companies must secure personal data, protect it and not share it without notifying users they are doing so. Even though there are massive amounts of data across the cloud, this may limit how businesses use and share that data.
Heavy hitters such as Facebook and Google have already faced some pushback from the public on the way they collect and use data. The United States Congress pulled Facebook’s founder in for hearings on the topic, and lawmakers seem more interested than ever before in protecting the rights of private citizens. Expect some limitations in this area to impact businesses seeking to gather information on their target audiences.
A Changing World
Changes in the next year might not be as noticeable as you might think. Scientists work on better machine learning and teaching computers to think more like humans. Doing so takes a lot of time and adjustments to programming. Trial and error isn’t a fast process, so expect only minor changes in the next year. However, little steps add up to the significant changes in AI capability we’ll see in the next five to 10 years. So, while the changes in 2020 might be barely noticeable, they’ll all contribute to a more automated world.