AI Adoption Skyrocketed Over the Last 18 Months (2023)

Summary.

Digital innovation spurred by Covid-19 has put AI and analytics at the center of business operations. AI and analytics are boosting productivity,delivering new products and services,accentuating corporate values, addressing supply chain issues, and fueling new startups. In this article, we address lessons learned from the pandemic and how they can be applied to spurring new economic opportunity.

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When it comes to digital transformation, the Covid crisis has provided important lessons for business leaders. Among the most compelling lessons is the potential data analytics and artificial intelligence brings to the table.

During the pandemic, for example, Frito-Lay ramped up its digital and data-driven initiatives, compressing five years’ worth of digital plans into six months. “Launching a direct-to-consumer business was always on our roadmap, but we certainly hadn’t planned on launching it in 30 days in the middle of a pandemic,” says Michael Lindsey, chief growth officer at Frito-Lay. “The pandemic inspired our teams to move faster that we would have dreamed possible.”

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The crisis accelerated the adoption of analytics and AI, and this momentum will continue into the 2020s, surveys show. Fifty-two percent of companies accelerated their AI adoption plans because of the Covid crisis, a study by PwC finds. Just about all, 86%, say that AI is becoming a “mainstream technology” at their company in 2021. Harris Poll, working with Appen, found that 55% of companies reported they accelerated their AI strategy in 2020 due to Covid, and 67% expect to further accelerate their AI strategy in 2021.

Will companies be able to keep up this heightened pace of digital and data-driven innovation as the world emerges from Covid? In the wake of the crisis, close to three-quarters of business leaders (72%) feel positive about the role that AI will play in the future, a survey by The AI Journal finds. Most executives (74%) not only anticipate AI will deliver more efficient make business processes, but also help to create new business models (55%) and enable the creation of new products and services (54%).

AI and analytics became critical to enterprises as they reacted to the shifts in working arrangements and consumer purchasing brought on by the Covid crisis. And as adoption of these technologies continues apace, enterprises will be drawing on lessons learned over the past year and a half that will guide their efforts well into the decade ahead:

Business leaders understand firsthand the power and potential of analytics and AI on their businesses. “Since Covid hit, CEOs are now leaning in, asking how they can take advantage of data?” says Arnab Chakraborty, global managing director at Accenture. “They want to understand how to get a better sense of their customers. They want to create more agility in their supply chains and distribution networks. They want to start creating new business models powered by data. They know they need to build a data foundation, taking all of the data sets, putting them into an insights engine using all the algorithms, and powering insights solutions that can help them optimize their businesses, create more agility in business processes, know their customers, and activate new revenue channels.”

AI is instrumental in alleviating skills shortages. Industries flattened by the Covid crisis — such as travel, hospitality, and other services — need resources to gear up to meet pent-up demand. Across industries, skills shortages have arisen across many fields, from truck drivers to warehouse workers to restaurant workers. Ironically, there is an increasingly pressing need to develop AI and analytics to compensate for shortages of AI development skills. In Cognizant’s latest quarterly Jobs of the Future Index, there will be a “strong recovery” for the U.S. jobs market this coming year, especially those involving technology. AI, algorithm, and automation jobs saw a 28% gain over the previous quarter.

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AI is a critical ingredient to creating solutions to what is likely to be on-going, ever-changing skills needs and training, agrees Rob Jekielek, managing director with Harris Poll. “AI is already beginning to help fill skills shortages of the existing workforce through career transition support tools. AI is also helping employees do their existing and evolving jobs better and faster using digital assistants and in-house AI-driven training programs.”

AI will also help alleviate skills shortages by augmenting support activities. “Given how more and more products are either digital products or other kinds of technology products with user interfaces, there is a growing need for support personnel,” says Dr. Rebecca Parsons, chief technology officer at Thoughtworks. “Many of straightforward questions can be addressed with a suitably trained chatbot, alleviating at least some pressure. Similarly, there are natural language processing systems that can do simple document scanning, often for more canned phrases.”

AI and analytics are boosting productivity. Over the years, any productivity increases associated with technology adoption have been questionable. However, AI and analytics may finally be delivering on this long-sought promise. “Driven by advances in digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, productivity growth is now headed up,” according to Erik Brynjolfsson and Georgios Petropoulos, writing in MIT Technology Review. “The development of machine learning algorithms combined with large decline in prices for data storage and improvements in computing power has allowed firms to address challenges from vision and speech to prediction and diagnosis. The fast-growing cloud computing market has made these innovations accessible to smaller firms.”

AI and analytics are delivering new products and services. Analytics and AI have helped to step-up the pace of innovation undertaken by companies such as Frito-Lay. For example, during the pandemic, the food producer delivered an e-commerce platform, Snacks.com, “our first foray into the direct-to-consumer business, in just 30 days,” says Lindsey. The company is now employing analytics to leverage its shopper and outlet data “to predict store openings, shifts in demand due to return to work, and changes in tastes that are allowing us to reset the product offerings all the way down to the store level within a particular zip code,” he adds.

AI accentuates corporate values. “The way we develop AI reflects our company culture — we state our approach in two words — ‘responsible growth,’’’ says Sumeet Chabria, global chief operating officer technology and operations at Bank of America. “We are in the trust business. We believe one of the key elements of our growth — the use of technology, data, and artificial intelligence — must be deployed responsibly. As a part of that, our strategy around AI is Responsible AI; that means Being customer led. It starts with what the customer needs and the consequence of your solution to the customer; Being process led. How does AI fit into your business process? Did the process dictate the right solution?”

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AI and analytics are addressing supply chain issues. There are lingering effects as the economy kicks back into high gear after the Covid crisis — issues with items from semiconductors to lumber have been in short supply due to disruptions caused by the crisis. Analytics and AI help companies predict, prepare, and see issue that may disrupt their abilities to deliver products and services. These are still the early days for AI-driven supply chains, a survey released by theAmerican Center for Productivity and Quality finds only 13% of executives foresee a major impact from AI or cognitive computing over the coming year. Another 17% predict a moderate impact. Businesses are still relying on manual methods to monitor their supply chains — those that adopt AI in the coming months and years will achieve significant competitive differentiation.

“Supply chain planning addressing disruptions in the supply chain can benefit in two ways,” says Parsons. “The first is for the easy problems to be handled by the AI system. This frees up the human to address the more complex supply chain problems. However, the AIsystem can also provide support even in the more complex cases by, for example, providing possible solutions to consider or speeding up an analysis of possible solutions by completing a solution from a proposal on a specific part of the problem.”

AI is fueling startups, while helping companies manage disruption. Startups are targeting established industries by employing the latest data-driven technologies to enter new markets with new solutions. AI and analytics presents “a tremendous opportunity for both startups and established companies,” says Chakraborty. “Startups cannot do AI standalone. They can only solve a part of the puzzle. This is where collaboration becomes very important. The bigger organizations have an opportunity to embrace those startups, and make them part of their ecosystem.”

At the same time, AI is helping established companies compete with startups through the ability to test and iterate on potential opportunities far more rapidly and at far broader scale,” says Jekielek. “This enables established companies to both identify high potential opportunity areas more quickly as well as determine if it makes most sense to compete or, especially is figured out early, acquire.”

The coming boom in business growth and innovation will be a data-driven one. As the world eventually emerges from the other side of the Covid crisis, there will be opportunities for entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators to build value and launch new ventures that can be rapidly re-configured and re-aligned as customer needs change. Next-generation technologies — artificial intelligence and analytics — will play a key role in boosting business innovation and advancement in this environment, as well as spur new business models.

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FAQs

Why did AI flourish so much in the last years? ›

The current prominence of AI is based on long-established principles of machine learning, often implemented through (deep) neural networks. These have recently gained prominence due to the increased availability of computing power and large data sets for training purposes.

Why has artificial intelligence AI gained popularity recently? ›

The term artificial intelligence was coined in 1956, but AI has become more popular today thanks to increased data volumes, advanced algorithms, and improvements in computing power and storage. Early AI research in the 1950s explored topics like problem solving and symbolic methods.

Is artificial intelligence increasing? ›

As of 2022, the global AI market is valued at over $136 billion. AI industry value is projected to increase by over 13x over the next 8 years. The US AI market is forecast to reach $299.64 billion by 2026. The AI market is expanding at a CAGR of 38.1% between 2022 to 2030.

How quickly is AI advancing? ›

An impressive 20% annual growth is anticipated in the short-term future.

Why has AI gained tremendous success? ›

AI is important because it forms the very foundation of computer learning. Through AI, computers have the ability to harness massive amounts of data and use their learned intelligence to make optimal decisions and discoveries in fractions of the time that it would take humans.

When did AI start becoming popular? ›

In the 1980's, AI was reignited by two sources: an expansion of the algorithmic toolkit, and a boost of funds. John Hopfield and David Rumelhart popularized “deep learning” techniques which allowed computers to learn using experience.

Is the AI hype over? ›

Yes, of course, it is; in the same way as VR and blockchain are. For the last few years, the power of AI is demonstrated by its advances into different areas and how it is transforming them in every possible way.

Is AI growing exponentially? ›

The exponential growth of AI computing power (doubling every 3.4 months) now exceeds that of Moore's Law (doubling every 2 years).

Is AI a fast growing field? ›

There's no doubt that artificial intelligence, or AI, is a fast-growing industry with an immense impact on our future. If this field excites you, there's a huge variety of artificial intelligence jobs in different industries you can pursue.

How fast is AI doubling? ›

The study measured the improvement of an AI-based image identification program. AI's computational power doubling every quarter theinformation.com/briefings/809d… Since 2012 the compute power used to achieve AI milestones has been increasing much faster than Moore's law--doubling every 3.4 months vs every 2 years.

Which country is most ahead in AI? ›

However, some countries are known for investing heavily in AI research, including the United States, China, Canada, and several European countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

How long until AI is smarter than humans? ›

Researchers have long predicted that artificial intelligence will eventually surpass human intelligence, although there are different predictions as to when that will happen. According to a study by Autotrader company Vanarama, Tesla's new microchip will be "more intelligent" than humans by 2033.

What is the biggest advantage of AI? ›

One of the biggest advantages of Artificial Intelligence is that it can significantly reduce errors and increase accuracy and precision. The decisions taken by AI in every step is decided by information previously gathered and a certain set of algorithms. When programmed properly, these errors can be reduced to null.

How advanced is AI in 2022? ›

Meanwhile, the average number of AI capabilities that organizations use, such as natural-language generation and computer vision, has also doubled—from 1.9 in 2018 to 3.8 in 2022.

What are 3 benefits of AI? ›

What are the advantages of Artificial Intelligence?
  • AI drives down the time taken to perform a task. ...
  • AI enables the execution of hitherto complex tasks without significant cost outlays.
  • AI operates 24x7 without interruption or breaks and has no downtime.
  • AI augments the capabilities of differently abled individuals.

When was the golden age of AI? ›

After having gone through two "winters" in the early seventies and the late eighties, AI made a glorious come back at the beginning of the second millennium, enabled by the emerging massive computing power, the collection of colossal data sets (the big data phenomenon) and the advances in data analytics (from ...

When did AI get big? ›

Investment and interest in AI boomed in the first decades of the 21st century when machine learning was successfully applied to many problems in academia and industry due to new methods, the application of powerful computer hardware, and the collection of immense data sets.

What is the most advanced AI ever created? ›

While AI has been improving, the November 2022 launch of ChatGPT has been a game changer. ChatGPT is a conversational application of GPT-3, the most powerful AI system in the world, allowing you to have a natural conversation with this powerful technology.

What is the biggest threat of AI? ›

Existential risk from artificial general intelligence is the hypothesis that substantial progress in artificial general intelligence (AGI) could result in human extinction or some other unrecoverable global catastrophe.

What is the biggest problem with AI? ›

One of the biggest artificial intelligence problems is that the sophisticated and expensive processing resources needed are unavailable to the majority of businesses. Additionally, they lack access to the expensive and scarce AI expertise required to utilize those resources effectively.

What Year Will AI take over? ›

Even staple figures in the field of science such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have been vocal about technology's threat against humanity. In 2020, Musk told the New York Times that AI would grow vastly smarter than humans and would overtake the human race by 2025, adding that things would get “unstable or weird.”

How likely is an AI takeover? ›

According to an article in The Conversation, written by Mauro Vallati, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Huddersfield, ​“there is no risk of a runaway AI, because physical laws of the universe pose some very constraining hard limits”.

Will AI hurt the economy? ›

The disruptive effects of AI may also influence wages, income distribution and economic inequality. Rising demand for high-skilled workers capable of using AI could push their wages up, while many others may face a wage squeeze or unemployment.

What is the smartest AI right now? ›

Lucid.AI is the world's largest and most complete general knowledge base and common-sense reasoning engine.

Who is leading in AI development? ›

In addition to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) is one of the biggest AI companies in the world.

Will AI replace farmers? ›

The technological revolution has certainly changed farming, but it will never replace all farmers. Humans are responsible for AI, so innovators need to work with the farming industry and take caution so that the world doesn't become apocalyptic.

Why did machine learning become so popular now? ›

Machine learning is important because it gives enterprises a view of trends in customer behavior and business operational patterns, as well as supports the development of new products. Many of today's leading companies, such as Facebook, Google and Uber, make machine learning a central part of their operations.

When did AI gain its popularity and by whom? ›

Boom 1980–1987. In the 1980s a form of AI program called "expert systems" was adopted by corporations around the world and knowledge became the focus of mainstream AI research. In those same years, the Japanese government aggressively funded AI with its fifth generation computer project.

Why AI improvements are getting faster and faster? ›

More Data, More Demand

Necessity leads to innovation, and the explosion in collected data is demanding more powerful and smarter AI systems. Big Data has been one of the major trends in recent years, but users quickly found that the data they collected simply couldn't be processed effectively using older AI systems.

Why is AI so popular these days? ›

The main reasons for these vast popularity of AI are: More computing power:AI requires a lot of computing power, recently many advances have been made and complex deep learning models can be deployed and one of the great technology that made this possible are GPUs.

Why is machine learning so hot right now? ›

Machine learning is popular because computation is abundant and cheap. Abundant and cheap computation has driven the abundance of data we are collecting and the increase in capability of machine learning methods.

What year did machine learning began to flourish? ›

Machine learning (ML), reorganized as a separate field, started to flourish in the 1990s.

How has AI developed over the years? ›

In the past few years, AI evolved into a powerful tool that enables machines to think and act like humans. Moreover, it has garnered focus from tech companies around the world and is considered as the next significant technological shift after the evolution in mobile and cloud platforms.

Is AI helping or hurting society? ›

Artificial intelligence's impact on society is widely debated. Many argue that AI improves the quality of everyday life by doing routine and even complicated tasks better than humans can, making life simpler, safer, and more efficient.

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