When exactly will artificial intelligence (AI) go mainstream?

A recent PwC paper titled, 2018 AI Predictions: 8 Insights to Shape Business Strategy, doesn’t dare try to answer this question. But it does answer a whole lot more around the business value of artificial intelligence, and how adoption will play out over the near-term.

Here’s a peek:

  1. AI will impact employers before it impacts employmentRather than replacing jobs, PwC makes that case that humans and AI in “combination will become the new normal in the workforce of the future.” In fact, 67 percent of executives say AI will help humans and machines work together using both artificial and human intelligence.
  2. AI will come down to earthand get to work — AI will become more pervasive by removing tedious tasks from people’s daily routines, empowering them to be more strategic and add more value to the business. This includes analyzing data trends to improve processes and providing insight and predictions to fuel future growth.
  3. AI will help answer the big question about data — AI is starting make big data investments pay off for companies, unleashing new ways to make massive amounts of information more easily accessible and actionable. The business value is coming in the form of increased efficiencies and automation that frees up employees to work on more value-based work, including unlocking business intelligence and innovation.
  4. Functional specialists, not techies, will decide the AI talent race — The adoption of AI is accelerating due to a wider availability of easy-to-use BI and analytics tools. Read: You don’t have to be a data scientist to be able to leverage and make an impact with AI in your job. In fact, according to the PwC paper, it’s the experts in their fields with the right AI skills and knowledge vs. the pure data scientists that will flourish in the AI-powered workforce of the future.
  5. Cyberattacks will be more powerful because of AIbut so will cyberdefense — The PwC paper predicts that AI will indeed increase the threat from data breaches and bad actors in the future. The good news: AI will increasingly play a part in developing more powerful solutions to prevent data breaches and hacks from happening in the first place. But a common theme emerges: AI will never replace a human’s ability for “absorbing context and thinking imaginatively” to combat cyberattacks.    
  6. Opening AI’s black box will become a priority — When it comes to artificial intelligence, most people don’t know what they don’t know. Of course, stories of AI replacing humans are out there, but is there really a reason to be afraid? According to the PwC paper, business leaders and companies using AI must participate in making AI “explainable, transparent, and provable” to customers. By making this a priority, the adoption and acceptance of AI in day-to-day work — and life — will accelerate.   
  7. Nations will spar over AI The implications of AI are so massive that the battle has risen up to the country level. Nations worldwide, including the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and China, are all betting big on AI, going after a market predicted to be worth $15.7 trillion (yes, trillion) by 2030. With a relatively open playing field, the future winner remains to be seen.
  8. Pressure for responsible AI won’t be on tech companies alone — No matter where you are in the world, there is one word that inevitably comes up when discussing AI: Responsibility. While many agree that AI has the potential to literally change the world, there is consensus that AI is best used when it “strengthens business and society as a whole,” according to the paper. As a result, a future with more clearly defined AI principles and standards will likely emerge as adoption increases.

You can read the complete PwC paper here.

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