Consumer-centric applications for artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are helping to stamp out the public perception that these technologies will only benefit businesses and negatively impact jobs and hiring. The conversation from human replacement to human efficiency has become more mainstream as we see AI applications in healthcare, social media, mass transportation, financial industries and many more.
Andrew Ng - Computer scientist and adjunct professor of computer science at Stanford - has recently referred to AI as "the new electricity," pointing out that most industries will see the value from AI significantly expand over the next decade. Recent advancements have helped to overhaul mundane and outdated processes and provide advanced data analysis and enhanced or, "augmented," intelligence to support not just companies, but individual employees and consumers.
In 2018 and 2019, AI was tapped to disrupt and improve multiple industries, and was the prime target for VC funding with investments well into the billions. In 2020, the following are just several of the industries likely to see advances using AI and machine learning.
1. Hiring and employee development
Benchmarking through smart technology has the potential to infiltrate and totally change the perception of individual and organization-wide purpose. AI technology can and should revamp the hiring process, while simultaneously compiling data to help place the right people in the right positions, for maximum results. Using data alongside learning programs with AI can help enhance the human experience rather than replace it, a common fear we hear attached to anything AI.
For example, Fuel50, a talent experience platform, offers tools to change how corporations manage employee development, a multi-billion-dollar industry in itself, to improve consistency, efficiency and evaluate data to track progress in a way it's never been tracked before. Through AI-driven career pathing, Fuel50 delivers career path transparency to mobilize internal talent supply and deliver skills-forecasting that drives workforces into the future. AI, and startups like Fuel50, will provide an opportunity to measure success in a very tangible way, while streamlining processes that are in serious need of consistency.
2. Investments and insurance
Life insurance is a $615 billion dollar industry stuck in the past with legacy companies dominating the market. However, change is coming quickly. The insurtech industry saw record investments in 2019 and looking into 2020 expect to see returns on those investments by way of major technology upgrades. With more than 700 insurers in the United States, each offering 20 plus different products, sorting through hundreds of millions of data sets is the only way to identify the best option for a policy that will generate the best return.
As this would be incredibly taxing and unlikely for a consumer, one often trusts an insurance sales agent to make recommendations, but these are often incredibly biased toward the policies that provide great returns to the agent and their firm. Alternatively, machine learning can be utilized to sort billions of data sets and identify the best possible option based on individual preset parameters.
"Where as an agent may be looking at and comparing a handful of options, leaving plenty on the table just based on capacity restrictions, AI programming can iterate this skillset, make it much more efficient, and ensure the consumer has the best options available," per Nelson Lee, Founder of Insurtech company iLife, which utilizes the integration of AI to offer accountability, clarity and optimized policy options for consumers. Additionally, Lee suggests that AI can also protect the human experience with a smart security and purchasing interface, with options that are all well-vetted so consumers can protect their assets and policies.
Other platforms are beginning to emerge to address the lack of transparency in the industry like Mployer Advisor, a Nashville-based company that utilizes AI and real time data blending across numerous public and private sources to rate brokers for corporate healthcare insurance plans. There are perhaps few industries riper for disruption in 2020 than insurance with major overhauls due for outdated practices as big data and AI reshape its foundation.
3. Smart home technology
According to Statista, the smart appliance market segment pulled in almost $17B in 2019, and is expected to grow almost 20% by 2023. This consumer-driven market proves out the case for smart home technology capable of both aligning with and enhancing smart appliances. Add to this a more internet-connected home, and we're currently experiencing advancements that could only be imagined a decade ago.
Chefling, a tech startup based in Silicon Valley, is using machine learning and appliance connectivity to provide a fully integrated cooking experience, from automatically assessing refrigerator and pantry inventory, to providing a list of recipes to the user based on available inventory and automating the cooking process with smart appliances. The app also helps to suggest missing ingredients and can order those for the user from home grocery delivery services. The company's recent funding partnership with Bosch, a global leader in the home appliance industry, is a great indicator of what's to come for the industry collectively.
The kitchen is quickly becoming the smart home hub of interactive features designed to create seamless experiences through AI. The population's demand for smart home technology is even driving the growth of voice assistant technology outside the home. Amazon and Google are investing millions of dollars into new voice technology startups, like Drivetime, an interactive entertainment company that uses artificial intelligence and voice technologies to enable games and entertainment controlled entirely by using voice commands for in-vehicle use.
At a high level, the ongoing conversation regarding healthcare often centers around patient options, privacy, security, data access, and data compilation. Lacking a uniform system leaves large amounts of data separated and not effectively compared, a problem that directly affects patient care, diagnosis, and treatment. The goals for healthcare, as we continue integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning, are to manage priorities, and increase patient safety and level of care; while integrating cybersecurity solutions and large data processing systems to store and put that data to work.
Patientory, a healthcare startup aimed at empowering the way patients keep track of their health, is relying on new technology to centralize the massive amounts of medical data patients accumulate. This centralization, something the healthcare industry currently lacks, will be used to create actionable and achievable insights that will drive improved health outcomes for patients globally. Patientory also offers a mobile app designed to utilize blockchain as well as machine learning to put patient care back in the hands of the patient. Patientory's mobile app allows patients to create an individual profile that stores their medical information securely on a blockchain platform.
This platform will also allow patients to connect with care providers and other patients who have similar health issues or concerns. As the healthcare industry moves towards a value-based system, we will see much more space for AI-based enhancements and innovations. The healthcare sector is long overdue for disruptive innovation, so this is one transformation that can't turn the corner soon enough.
Will AI truly become "the next electricity" as Andrew Ng put it? The industries outlined above are giant sectors with plenty of room for innovation, growth in efficiency, and all-around technology alignment, tasks AI can easily take on.