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AI Index: Major Growth Despite the Pandemic
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been growing and improving steadily for many years. The pandemic, though devastating to many industries, has not caused a significant drop in AI growth. In fact, according to the 2021 AI Index, there have been some major developments around the globe.
While many areas of the world suffered from economic drops and some industries have all but crashed, the rapid growth of AI has only increased.
What AI Growth Looks Like in a Pandemic
How has AI growth continued while COVID-19 crushed most areas of the economy? Here’s a look at what has improved.
Private investments were surprisingly higher in 2020 than ever before, making this a banner year for AI financing. The effects of COVID were minimal in this area. The United States and China were the two largest contributors via private investments, with US investments reaching $23,597 million and Chinese investments reaching $9,933 million.
Governments Boosted AI Growth
Not surprisingly, most governments are interested in artificial intelligence, thanks to the possibilities it offers. Billions have been spent in an effort to improve the technology and ensure that it can be used for civil and non-civil purposes.
Deepfakes are also known as synthetic media, which involves faking texts, photos and even video in a sufficiently realistic manner that it can be impossible to tell the difference between real and AI. This type of fake media has drastically improved and has been highlighted as a milestone for AI. However, deepfakes are also ethically controversial and many people worry about their potential use for nefarious purposes.
Over 30 Countries Created National AI Strategies
Canada was the first to create a national AI strategy in 2017 and this has spurred other nations to do the same. By 2020, there were more than 30 countries with their own strategies. These countries realize the impact that AI will have in the coming years and are taking steps to ensure they keep up with the latest technology and prevent fraud and other problems that may come with it. They lay out the plan for long-term implementation of the AI ecosystem and list what is necessary in order to benefit the entire country, including all sectors of the economy.
AI Involvement in Fintech Has Grown
AI has been used for financial purposes over the years, but it has grown impressively. Thanks to machine learning, banks can now use AI to analyze everything from pay stubs and tax forms to mortgages and bank statements to determine whether someone is eligible for a loan. When it comes to credit, 77 percent of consumers want to use a debit or credit card and just 12 percent prefer cash. This leaves a trail that AI can analyze, and banks may then offer loans or credit appropriate to the person’s financial situation and spending status.
How AI Is Used
Artificial intelligence has limitless possibilities, but it is currently being used in a variety of industries. For example, AI is frequently used to manage operations in companies, such as Kroger and Ocado. The machine learning software they use predicts the demand for specific groceries. It then automatically determines 98 percent of stock replenishment on its own, based on previous sales and a complex algorithm.
AI is also a big part of biological science and is used in a variety of applications. One such application is the prediction of protein shapes based on the genetic sequence presented. This could speed up the development of new drugs and improve many areas of biological research.
Chatbots have been around for a while, but they’re now far more sophisticated than ever before. It’s very common to find that the customer service person you’ve been chatting with online is actually AI. With the incorporation of machine learning and natural language processing, these bots can help a customer without ever involving a human.
Simply determining what consumers are doing and how their product usage has changed during the pandemic has aided many companies in improving everything from sales to marketing. For example, Hershey’s Chocolates determined that Halloween candy sales would drop due to safety concerns but predicted that more people would be making s’mores in their homes. This allowed for a major shift in marketing their products. Other companies have done the same.
Where AI Is Still Lacking
Despite rapid growth, artificial intelligence still has a long way to go. The technology is rapidly evolving and is becoming more interesting to governments and countries, but it is still lacking in certain areas.
Data on AI, particularly when it comes to diversity, is severely lacking. Many companies don’t reveal what they are working on until it has already been developed, which can hinder global progress. The same goes for many universities. According to the AI index, there is a push for governments to get more involved in collecting information and data on AI.
Overall, more transparency is likely to be required in the future. That will help everyone advance faster and also puts a limit on how nefarious the ethical issues may become.
AI will continue to grow, but it’s unknown just how many regulations will be placed on it. If governments, particularly those in the US and China, take more interest in AI technology, it’s likely we’ll see more limitations and regulations. However, for now, the big interest is in diversifying the field of artificial intelligence and making more data available for everyone to use.
COVID-19 may have been the catalyst to increasing AI growth, thanks to the fact that most businesses had to do a rapid pivot to ensure they managed to continue business. AI made many of the current processes possible. Everything from cloud migration plans and telehealth have been affected by the pandemic and can be improved with machine learning. This ensures the AI growth will continue, no matter what is happening in the world.