AI is one of the most exciting emerging technologies around today. Leading the way in its emergence are big digital companies like Netflix, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, which use machine learning technologies to give their customers better experiences. Google and Amazon, for example, use AI to create smart home assistants that make simple day-to-day tasks easier, while Netflix uses machine learning to provide product recommendations tailored to user preferences.
As AI technology becomes more prevalent, however, it won’t just be big digital brands benefiting from it. More companies and industries will make use of AI, to the point that the technology can be considered a necessity in modern business.
Today, the rising popularity of AI and machine learning in industries like finance, e-commerce, and even healthcare prove that the future business landscape will indeed revolve largely around artificial intelligence. In this article, we’ll look more closely at how some top industries can benefit from AI.
Already, there are many uses for AI in the finance sector. On a functional level for consumers for instance, financial institutions can use natural language chatbots to reduce tedious working hours and efficiently answer customer queries. Many modern trading platforms also use AI to create personalized insights based on their customers' profiles and trading behaviors. NLP and machine learning techniques are also used to measure ESG performance of companies, which is an important factor when focusing on sustainable investments. In some cases, customers also have the option to automate their investments based on AI recommendations.
Perhaps one of the most useful applications of AI in finance, however, is consumer protection. Given the increased risk of cybercrime in recent years, financial institutions need to take a proactive approach to protect their customers’ money and data. American bank JPMorgan has pioneered a solution: AI-powered fraud detection. By implementing proprietary algorithms that analyze patterns in human behavior, the bank can detect suspicious activity and cancel fraudulent transactions before they're finalized.
Retail is another industry that uses chatbots to streamline customer interactions. And just like today’s investment platforms, e-commerce websites are also starting to employ AI to give customers personalized insights and recommendations. Using product recommendation systems, e-commerce websites can analyze consumer behavior, demographics, and other metrics to highlight products that align with each individual consumer’s personal tastes. Such practices can increase engagement and even lead customers to niche products they might not otherwise have noticed. Companies like Stitch Fix go a step further and use behavioral data to discover new styles before they get into an ecosystem.
Another emerging application of AI for retail is demand forecasting. Though this kind of tech is still in development, the use of AI in inventory management software allows retail companies to analyze consumer patterns and predict product demand. Through these projections, they can adjust how much stock to order, reducing risks of excess inventory or lost profits.
Similar to the retail industry’s use of product recommendation tools, many companies in the media and entertainment industries use machine learning algorithms for content recommendation and content creation, according to consumer preferences. Music streaming platform Spotify, for instance, analyzes listeners’ streaming history (which includes their liked songs, followed artists, and personal playlists) to create personalized mixes that contain blends of new and old music. By catering content to listeners’ tastes in this manner, the company keeps its audience engaged with the app.
But AI isn’t just about analyzing what customers have bought and telling them what to buy next. It can also be used to improve the accessibility of online content. A prime example of this is YouTube’s closed captioning system. Content creators on YouTube have the option to use their natural language processing tools to generate subtitles for videos without having to source human translators. Through this practice, video content becomes easily accessible to individuals who are multilingual or hard of hearing.
In the tech sector, it’s not just about Google and Amazon. Smaller tech companies have a stake in AI too. One application in development, for instance, is the use of AI in software testing. By automating quality assurance tools, AI can speed up the process of testing use cases and detecting bugs in software as it's being developed. This in turn allows software developers to create, fix, and launch programs more quickly.
AI can also be used to support processes as intricate as designing electronics hardware, such as the printed circuit boards (PCBs) that enable modern electronics to function. Before, designing PCB layouts that could enable our devices to run complex features was a tedious process that required weeks of effort (and a lot of trial and error). Now, AI in PCB design software can help engineers design PCBs optimized for specific functions in just a few hours' time. By automating the PCB design process, AI helps companies to churn out products in less time, with less effort, and with fewer errors.
These days, AI can even be used to save lives. In Denmark, developers have created AI and NLP tools that help emergency dispatchers detect symptoms of cardiac arrest in callers. A speech recognition software analyzes the caller’s voice, medical history, and background noise to identify the potential cardiac arrest. Once alerted by the software, emergency staff can then take appropriate measures. NLP techniques are also used to summarize medical text from reports to reduce the amount of paperwork a doctor needs to deal with.
Another use of AI in healthcare is in medical imaging analysis. To draw accurate insights more quickly, professionals can now use AI to review machine-generated medical scans such as x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs. The in-development app WebCeph, for instance, automatically analyzes skeletal x-rays of orthodontic patients to detect irregularities in teeth alignment, jaw size, and structure. This allows orthodontists to more easily determine how to treat their patients.
Like smartphones, the internet, and electricity, AI is a kind of technology so useful it is guaranteed widespread adoption. Someday, we’ll live in a society where every industry has a stake in AI. And as the examples above already show us, when that day comes, we’ll wonder how we ever lived without it.