In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence (or AI) is defined by the capability of a computer or a computer-controlled robot to perform tasks, which normally require human intelligence and skills such as visual perception and decision making. Conceptualized initially as the means to impart intelligence to inanimate objects, AI is impacting multiple industries today including manufacturing, healthcare, and education. According to a Gartner report, AI will create 2.3 million new jobs by the year 2020, while eliminating 1.8 million at the same time. By the year 2022, 1 in every five workers will rely on AI to perform their non-routine task.
How AI is transforming every industry that it touches
The use of AI-based technologies is transforming every industry that it touches by generating a business value projected to value $1.2 trillion globally in the year 2018, marking a 70% increase from 2017. Furthermore, this figure is predicted to reach $3.9 billion globally by the year 2022. According to Gartner, AI is generating business value through the following three sources:
- Enhanced customer experience
- New revenue generation through the increase in sales of existing products (or services) or through new products (or services)
- Reduction in the cost of production and delivery of existing products (or services)
According to Svetlana Sicular of Gartner research team, “AI will improve the productivity of many job roles while creating millions of skilled management positions including entry level jobs.” AI will positively impact the technology job market by creating 2 million new jobs globally by the year 2025.
Svetlana Sicular also adds that most predictions about job losses due to AI technologies is associated with job automation, but ignores the benefits of AI augmentation that complements both human and machine intelligence. For instance, AI and robotics can be leveraged to identify and automate labour-intensive tasks performed by retail workers, thus reducing labour and distribution costs.
Despite the immense potential of AI, the mass-scale adoption of this technology still faces numerous hurdles (including the following), which needs to be immediately tackled:
- The supervised or structured form of learning by AI systems, which does not imitate the way humans learn naturally from our environment.
- Lack of creativity and abstract level thinking on the part of AI machines that can process raw data and convert them into intuitive and easy-to-grasp concepts.
- Being a relatively new concept, AI does not enjoy full public support and trust, thus halting its increased adoption.
AI-based virtual agents (including chatbots) are taking over the handling of simple customer requests from a call centre or customer support executives, thus improving business revenue and freeing up employee time for more complex activities and decision making. While virtual agents are accounting for 46% of the AI-based business value in 2018, it will account for only 26% by the year 2022.
Right from our smartphones to self-driving vehicles, Artificial Intelligence is enabling the faster execution of tasks with more accuracy and increased knowledge. This article summarises how AI technology will transform many industries along with the many hurdles that it needs to overcome.