May 19, 2020

7 Industries That Will Rely Heavily on AI in 2020

Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence is fast becoming a top concern for businesses. While initially the realm of tech companies, in 2020, AI adoption is spreading quickly to other industries.

Four in 10 executives believe their companies already possess high-level capabilities to manage and maintain AI solutions. A quarter of the Fortune 500 are using AI to build intelligent process automation (IPA) capabilities to manage both the mundane tasks and tactical IPA projects, says Srividya Sridharan, VP and research director at Forrester.

These seven industries currently are investing in artificial intelligence to improve processes and create new efficiencies.

1. Transport

Perhaps the most exciting AI application in transport is the development of autonomous vehicles, but there are lesser-known problems that AI is providing solutions for, such as predictive traffic modeling.

Unpredictable traffic and the inevitability of human error has long made predictive modeling in transport a seemingly unattainable goal. However, in 2020, AI is changing this. AI can use available transport data, gathered from sensors and cameras on roads, to formulate models that inform traffic management to reduce accidents and ease traffic flows.

This has numerous applications. For one, this data also could help commuters plot shorter routes and avoid congestion, says Naveen Joshi, founder and CEO of Allerin. Whereas GPS gave us real-time traffic data we could respond to, AI could predict traffic jams even before they happen.

AI can also be applied to improve the sustainability of the transport industry, which globally accounts for 23 percent of total energy-related CO2 emissions, Maria Lopez Conde and Ian Twinn at the International Finance Corporation argue. Using AI to reduce the number of inefficient trips at sea and on the road would improve fuel efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

2. Manufacturing 

AI is also helping the manufacturing industry modernize its production lines and improve quality control. 

“In the same way that the power drill changed the way we use screwdrivers, AI will augment existing processes in the manufacturing industry by reducing the burden of mundane and potentially dangerous tasks, freeing up workers’ time to focus on innovative product development that will push the industry forward,” says Neurala CEO Massimiliano Versace

Versace sees 2020 as the year that manufacturers look to use edge AI, software, and hardware that run AI algorithms without linking to the cloud. The result will be more immediate and cost-effective solutions that are not dependent on paying third-party cloud providers to grant them access to data.

Smart robotic farmers harvest in agriculture futuristic; AI in 2020 concept

3. Agriculture 

Farmers need to maximize the output of their land. AI will help them do it, explains Tanya Singh, editor-in-chief at MobileAppDaily

AI has already been used in farming to improve the quantity and quality of produce — and with fewer resources than before. Examples include robotic weed killers that apply the exact amount of herbicides, and harvesting robots that perform as much work each day as 30 laborers. 

Singh reports that John Deere has built a “See and Spray” model for farmers to use. This can help farmers identify specific weeds through computer vision and kill them without spraying over an entire crop. Machine learning is also being used to predict how unpredictable environmental changes would affect crop yields. 

4. Entertainment 

In 2020, AI is proving effective in helping Hollywood executives make decisions about the types of movies they make, Steve Rose at the Guardian writes.

Rose reports how 20th Century Fox and Google have teamed up to create an AI called Merlin that predicts audience numbers based on engagement patterns in movie trailers. Elsewhere, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Ingenious Media, and STX Entertainment are using AI to help with content, talent, and release strategy decisions.

Personalized experiences are becoming table stakes in this industry, especially for subscription services such as Spotify and Netflix. Indeed, part of these companies’ success lies in how they’re able to tailor content for users, Scarlett Rose at Codeburst writes. Deep learning algorithms understand what users want based on past choices and listed preferences. 

5. Healthcare 

The fear of a superbug — a bacterium resistant to antibiotics — dominates much of the debate surrounding the medical community’s future fears. COVID-19, a viral infection, has shown how vulnerable humanity is when it doesn’t have a cure at hand. 

Some of the most interesting applications of healthcare AI are designed to solve the superbug problem. For instance, Abtrace is an AI platform that helps doctors prescribe the most suitable antibiotic specific to the particular patient. Chloe Kent at Verdict Medical Device reports 30 percent of antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriate, so such a solution is in high demand. 

Abtrace uses natural language processing to analyze patients’ healthcare notes and medical records, as well as millions of other data points such as doses and treatment success rates. The result is a real-time recommendation on the most suitable antibiotic for each person. 

Pete Durlach, SVP of healthcare strategy and new business development at Nuance, predicts an imminent future in which most doctors and hospitals use AI in multiple ways. A key area will be voice-enabled AI in the examination room. Doctors will be able to speak to the AI to input data and thus free up time to focus on patients. “We will see the exam room of the future where clinical documentation writes itself,” Durlach says.

Portrait Of Female Owner Of Independent Clothing And Gift Store With Digital Tablet; AI in 2020 concept

6. Fashion Retail 

Fashion brands need consumers to buy their clothing, so a keen focus for them is how AI can create demand, generate brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales, says Ronald Schmelzer, managing partner and principal analyst at the research and advisory firm Cognilytica. Example use cases include improving shopping experiences, optimizing sales systems, and guiding users through sales processes.

Customers are also embracing AI. Technology called smart image recognition systems are able to analyze someone’s favorite clothing styles and make suggestions as to what else they should wear. 

This underscores how important product recommendations are in fashion retail. Many brands are looking for tools that will facilitate product recommendations, product search and discovery, and customer relationship management Fashion United’s Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez writes. Virtual assistants are becoming a common manifestation of these technologies.

7. Recruitment 

We know firsthand the value of AI in talent acquisition and management processes. For a start, it helps to eliminate unconscious biases from the hiring process. But there are plenty of other uses and subsequent gains in efficiency and cost savings. 

For example, AI can be used to improve talent management by identifying opportunities for employees to grow within a company. Or, it can read through thousands of resumes in seconds, matching the most suitable candidates to the advertised roles.

Jared Lucas, CPO at MobileIron, tells Forbes that companies will have to make use of AI in 2020 for recruitment and hiring because the technology simply finds better candidates more quickly than manual workflows can.

Images by: Anek Suwannaphoom/©, sompongtom/©, Cathy Yeulet/©