Innovation

13 AI trends that will reshape the economy in 2018

A report from CB Insights examined the effect of artificial intelligence on specific industries, and how it will shift the labor market.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Artificial intelligence will impact specific industries and the economy as a whole, leading to new jobs and wars over AI talent. — CB Insights, 2018
  • As AI moves to defense, the US and China will vie for the top spot in tech leadership. — CB Insights, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to radically shift the way professionals use technology to get work done. With the proper dataset behind it, AI can help alleviate many repetitive and redundant tasks, changing the way humans approach work.

While the biggest controversy around AI is its potential to replace jobs, the technology will affect other aspects of the economy in major ways. A recent report from CB Insights highlights some of the key AI trends worth paying attention to in 2018.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

1. Robot babysitters

As AI-powered robots and other forms of automation take over repetitive roles, those roles previously held by humans will shift. As such, CB Insights believes that one job for impacted blue collar workers will be that of robot babysitter—which includes maintaining and operating the robots.

2. AI for X

Because of the broad uses of AI, CB Insights noted that firms will likely offer "out-of-the-box 'AI for X'" solutions this year. As AI and related technologies like machine learning continue to spread into niche markets, it further proves that these technologies are becoming "the building blocks for modern software and applications," the report said.

3. China vs. the US

The US is the leader in total number of AI investment deals, but it is losing share to China, whose work in this field is growing at an exponential clip. Tech like facial recognition and AI chips are powering China's rise, as the country takes more dollars in total AI funding, the report said.

4. AI-powered warfare

AI will be the "backbone of new government-sponsored cybersecurity efforts," the report said. As cybersecurity blends with traditional warfare, AI will be used to detect threats and help respond to breaches, according to the report.

5. Voice must come to non-English speaking markets

Voice-based assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri are growing in popularity, but are limited in their language support, according to the report. In 2018, these companies will increasingly compete to capture non-English speaking markets.

6. White collar automation accelerates

AI-enhanced software and tools will boost the productivity of white collar workers in 2018. According to the report, these tools will dramatically impact clerical and legal work, among other fields.

7. AI at the edge

Edge computing is a necessary destination for AI in 2018, as certain decision making processes must be handled locally to be effective. One example noted in the report was that of autonomous vehicles, that will need to make decisions more quickly to remain safe.

8. Capsule networks

Capsule networks have the potential to displace convolutional neural networks (CNNs) as one of the foundational piece of future AI tools, the report said. These networks can "identify general patterns with less data and be less vulnerable to incorrect results," the report said.

9. AI talent wars

Want to make money in tech? Go into AI. As noted in the report, AI experts are in high demand across the tech sector, and their salaries often average in the high six-figures.

10. Machine learning hype will die

The industry reached "peak" machine learning in 2017, the report said, and the hype is starting to die down as the technology is normalized. Pretty soon, AI will be table stakes in enterprise software tools, not a differentiating factor.

11. Amazon, Google, Microsoft dominate enterprise AI

The same tech giants that dominate public cloud also dominate the AI market, according to the CB Insights report. These firms often offer AI as a Service to simplify the process for their customers.

12. AI is coming to clinical diagnostics

At least in the US, regulators are considering AI as a tool that could be used in medical diagnostics. Image recognition tools could be used to help doctors more effectively diagnose and treat patients.

13. DIY AI

Despite the complexity of AI, it is easier than ever for non-experts to begin experimenting with the technology. "Between open source software libraries, hundreds of APIs and SDKs, and easy assembly kits from Amazon and Google, the barrier to entry is lower than ever before," the report said.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/nd3000

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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