What Industries Will Be Transformed by AI Most in the Next Decade?
Business + ManagementFeatured PostHealthcareEast 2020EducationFinanceHealthcareposted by Elizabeth Wallace, ODSC January 16, 2020 Elizabeth Wallace, ODSC
There are quite a few industries that will be transformed by AI in the next decade, but what do we mean by “transformation.” You know that AI is going to affect just about every industry there is. Still, a few will undergo a radical change as a result of a powerful combination of AI processing power and human innovation. Let’s dive a little deeper into what this transformation might look like.
What Does “Transformed by AI” Really Mean?
I’ll admit it: the word transformation is a bit holistic. For this particular article, we’re going to categorize transformation into three areas:
- the field will be data-driven rather than data-observant
- as a result, the field will automate processing-heavy (read: human error-prone) tasks
- this means massive job displacement
People are worried about this displacement because it means reimagining what we believe about the nature of work and how we see humans fitting into the process. It involves taking advantage of what humans do bring to the table: innovation, relationship building, problem-solving, and planning for the future.
That’s a different article, however. We aren’t going to assess the philosophical questions arising with machines. We aren’t going to make judgments about things like privacy. Here, we’re going to take a quick look at a few industries where AI will change the nature of the work being done and change how humans interact not only with clients but with the “software brain” behind these AI transformations.
Healthcare is broken. It’s expensive, it’s error-prone, and it’s slow. Drug discovery takes forever. Doctors and nurses work backbreaking hours and have hundreds of patients. Lawsuits occupy a considerable part of an organization’s budget.
Healthcare is busy building AI-driven initiatives. Across the board, the field will experience a massive transformation in how patients receive care, how we research and drive innovations, and how we encourage people to live healthier in general.
[Related Article: The Impact of AI on Medical Education]
In the past, we’ve operated in healthcare without any kind of roadmap. You felt something was wrong, and your doctor began the long process of trying to figure out what’s wrong with you through trial and error. Drug companies formulate a hypothesis and take months or years to allow those trials to unfold.
With the introduction of AI, we may finally have the roadmap we’ve dreamed about. AI processing power puts data into direct use. Instead of relying on doctors and literature in a slow research process, AI can be trained to “see” little details that begin to add up to accurate predictions.
This data isn’t even limited strictly to health data. Our phones hold massive amounts of data about our habits, beliefs, activities, and interactions, which has the potential to give us personalized insight into what causes things like chronic disease and can even predict what used to be a sudden unpredictable illness.
It also provides insight into the types of materials that could give us new treatments and cures. The predictive power of AI automates discovery style research, allowing companies to get to trials faster and uncover reactions more quickly.
Doctors could soon find themselves “advisors” to AI as data-driven algorithms are better able to diagnose patients and recommend potential areas of treatment. With chronic disease, you could interact mostly with this augmented intelligence with oversight from a doctor who spends far less time on mundane tasks and far more time on bedside tasks.
Even things like billing could be affected as hospitals, and doctor’s offices begin to use smart programs to keep up with coding and even run buildings with better efficiency to reduce overhead and administrative costs. Add to that the time savings of using robots to monitor patient activity and wellness outside of the facility, and you could see an entirely different healthcare system in the next decade.
Banking and Finance
Finance may also get a new look through the next decade. We already know that more and more people are eschewing traditional brick and mortar financial institutions in favor of streamlined banking and even online-only financial setups. But with the introduction of AI, the transformation is more than just losing traditional financial institutions.
Security in finance and banking is getting a facelift. It turns out that AI is a better predictor of human behavior than even humans are. With access to massive amounts of data and the implementation of smart security triggers, the days of getting your card flagged because of “suspicious behavior” could be over.
AI uses smart algorithms to analyze your behavior, and when there’s truly an anomaly in your spending or an impossible location flagged on your account, only then does it trigger a security check. And if, for some reason, the transaction really is you, you’ll be able to unblock your card faster and easier with only a simple robot-enabled customer service interaction. No humans required.
Deeper into cybersecurity, AI is helping banking institutions deflect attacks through methods like adversarial machine learning. Even deeper than that, taking the middleman out of finances altogether with decentralized cryptocurrency and blockchain-enabled cybersecurity, we could see a fundamental change in who controls money and how it changes hands.
We could also see a better process for applying for credit. Although these predictors are still in development and come with their own issues (and plenty of internal bias), a real transformation of the credit industry comes from data-driven decisions that account for more factors than what humans can process, minus the inherent biases we have.
AI could help break down barriers to credit, capital, and funding that traditionally hold back certain population blocks. These truly data-driven decisions will help drive capital into creative markets left out of traditional financing and could see a boon in better credit decisions.
The previous two fields get a lot of attention, but caregiving drives our society from childhood to elderly care. Caregiving is traditionally underfunded, undertrained, and invisible work, with caregivers experiencing higher rates of disease and cognitive issues than their age-matched peers.
[Related Article: Machine Learning for Education: Benefits and Obstacles to Consider in 2020]
AI to facilitate caregiving is a radical reimagining of what AI is capable of doing. With elderly care, researchers are exploring the data processing and predictive power of AI but also its “human-ness.” With AI, we may also be able to help support cognitive function with human-like interactions.
In countries where there aren’t enough people to care for the elderly, the effects of isolation and loneliness can be devastating. While robots aren’t a replacement for human interaction just yet, they can help encourage cognitive activities and may even facilitate people staying in their homes longer.
As populations age, our ability to care for them is tested. Home-based AI that can monitor for health signs reduces the need for continual hospital or doctor’s office monitoring (a known stressor both for the patient and on medical resources). Robots can encourage activities that keep the mind and body healthier longer. And in the future, we may even see fully supportive AI bots that interact like companions, offer the stress-relieving benefits of pets (without requiring care from the patient), and even things like smart exoskeletons that improve mobility.
AI’s Future is Transformative
Again, the legal and ethical ramifications of AI is a separate article, but we can’t deny that AI is going to transform these fields into something we’d barely recognize today. What humans can do is drive this transformation in positive ways rather than the dystopian nightmare we worry about. Whether it’s the processing and predictive power that improves security and medical care or the human aspects of caregiving and bias reductions, our future is what we build.
What other industries that use AI will be impacted the most in the coming decade? Attend the Ai x Business Summit during ODSC East in Boston this April 14-17 and learn more about the applications of AI in various industries there.