Looking back at 2018, it was certainly a great year for AI and machine learning. Many new applications were introduced, including advanced analytics, various automation platforms, natural language and processing support, and even cloud computing capabilities.
Despite this, the business and enterprise world, as a whole, was relatively slow to adopt its use.
But thanks to major advancements in machine learning and natural language processing, the technology is now being applied in more promising ways.
Not that the likes of Siri and Alexa weren’t promising. They most certainly are, especially in retail and consumer support channels. They just don’t have their place across most enterprise environments.
Still, the AI road ahead is now paved, and we can move on to more incredible deployments. Here are some industries that will be using AI in more innovative ways during the coming year.
AI in the greater insurance industry
For years, insurance has largely been about monitoring policies and customer data to make decisions and take action. Digital technologies have made the process much simpler, of course, because the information is all compiled in one place now — similar to electronic health records.
AI, however, will soon replace their human counterparts when it comes to sifting through troves of customer data and policy information. Through the use of proven algorithms, AI will be able to detect fraudulent claims, reel in costs savings and assess customer policies.
There’s a forward-facing side to the technology, too. AI bots, for instance, can be used to communicate with incoming customers and help them find the best policies or plans — something that was otherwise reserved for human agents in the past.
More importantly, any and all data coming in can be assessed near-instantly, in real-time, using AI solutions and machine learning. This makes for some incredible opportunities, like being able to react much faster to customer actions — such as when they have a roadway accident or when they reach out to cancel their policy.
Furthermore, it can be used across all fields of insurance including home, health, and auto.
Artificial intelligence in finance
The banking and finance industry will see many benefits as a result of AI and machine learning deployment, specifically when it comes to cost savings. AI is purported to save the industry more than $1 trillion by 2030, which will certainly trickle down to customers and clients. The savings will be realized across all fronts including the front, back and middle office.
Reductions in operations offer the biggest cost savings, with AI taking over many jobs like security, tellers and cashiers, distribution and even data processing. Chatbots are the big driver, offering cheap and efficient customer service opportunities — but that’s true of every industry.
The more innovative deployment is for process automation, where AI takes over a lot of the systems and operations that financial institutions use to complete business transactions. Everything from money transfers and cash deposits to financial contracts and housing agreements will soon be powered by machine learning. As an example, Wells Fargo recently deployed an AI banking assistant through Facebook Messenger.
AI in automotive and transportation
You’ve heard of driverless or self-driving cars, obviously. It should come as no surprise that these vehicles are powered by machine learning and AI, in addition to cloud and remote computing. Of course, IoT and smart sensors play a role, allowing the vehicles to assess their surroundings — data which AI platforms take advantage of, no doubt.
Beyond consumer-grade driverless vehicles, is the advancement of public and general transportation. Imagine a bus or rail-based transport moving on its own, sans a driver or conventional operator. That is exactly what we’re headed toward, which is not as far away as one might think.
Back in 2017, analysts predicted that 10 million self-driving cars will hit the roadways by 2020, and things are still on track for that prediction. The technology is ramping up with many automakers racing to get their version of the driverless car out for purchase. Tesla already offers a vehicle feature called Autopilot that offers driverless support.
At the heart of the entire industry or movement, of course, is artificial intelligence. It allows the vehicles and systems to make accurate decisions through the use of performance and analytics data.
Artificial intelligence in secondary or higher-education
AI and machine learning can help to better assess education experiences so that students get more well-rounded and holistic opportunities. In other words, data or intelligence can be used to inform future events and strategies within the secondary education industry.
Schools and universities can be further improved through the resulting data, with education tracks that better reflect a more successful future. Looking beyond grades and a GPA is crucial to ensuring a student’s success, which is exactly how the technology will be applied.
AI in legal
Law is definitely an industry where human involvement seems necessary and will always be important. While AI won’t be fighting the good fight in the courthouse anytime soon, there are still plenty of ways it can be used in the field.
A large portion of legal preparation and the resulting battles is essentially about data consumption and analytics. Lawyers, interns and paralegals will spend a majority of their time huddled over books and case data looking for information that may help their argument.
AI-based software applications can alleviate some of the work by handling data processing and extraction just as its human counterparts would. Imagine thousands — if not millions — of legal documents and books being scoured for useful information in a matter of minutes, as opposed to hours, days or even weeks.
Then there’s the ever-promising use of chatbots to interface with customers and help identify potential legal actions. AI tools can also be used for collaboration across legal professionals and teams, helping them mitigate some of the work involved with contracts and documents.
AI in hospitality
For an ideal example of how AI can be used in the hospitality industry, you only need to look at Hilton’s Connie, a robot concierge. Powered entirely by AI, think of it as the “Alexa” of the hospitality industry. Connie can answer questions about hotel amenities, dining options, local events and places and much more.
Customers no longer have to wait for available operating hours, for instance. They can simply reach out to Connie any time of the day or night — which is great for night owls.
AI can also be used to improve operations within the industry, analyzing a variety of customer and performance data to help optimize operations. Imagine management being able to accurately predict when there’s going to be a customer surge, allowing them to prepare the necessary rooms and amenities.
Bottom line: AI and machine learning will become more common
While 2018 was certainly a promising year for AI and machine learning technologies, the year ahead will be the tipping point with regard to adoption.
Thanks to many advancements and a growing understanding of the technology, more companies and businesses are willing to deploy AI-powered platforms and services.
What this means is that the technology will become more common and almost expected across nearly every industry in existence. From food and beverage to construction or hospitality, the possibilities are truly endless.