Artificial intelligence looks set to transform every sector of the global economy, including healthcare.
According to a recent article published by the Imperial College Business School there are three interesting AI trends emerging, including creative AI, the metaverse and cybersecurity
1. Creative AI
It was long held that machines could never contribute to the creative side of business. Yet AI-powered applications such as Phrasee are already helping companies to optimise their marketing slogans.
IDEO, a company famous for ideation and innovation, is augmenting creative brainstorming sessions with AI-generated suggestions. In one session, the team was trying to think of new ways to help customers grow their savings. The AI algorithm came up with the following idea: why don’t we get a monster to leap out of the cash machine every time someone tried to withdraw their money?
Of course, this is a completely crazy idea but that’s what’s so exciting about it. A monster leaping out of a cash machine is exactly the kind of off-the-wall, lateral thinking you need in a good brainstorm. And once a machine can generate an idea that is genuinely original, it can play a useful role in your company’s creative processes. It might even inspire your team to head in a completely new direction. Using AI for ideation is still in its infancy but it is a fascinating area with huge potential.
2. The metaverse
Another hot topic in the world of AI is the metaverse, which sounds like an entirely new plane of existence, but is better thought of as the latest form of virtual reality. The challenge for businesses is that, to date, the metaverse has only really come to the fore in video gaming, where it’s used to create rich and interactive multiplayer experiences.
The next step is for the metaverse’s 360-degree immersive environment to be used for applications with tangible business benefits, such as 3D product demonstrations and employee training. Here at Imperial College Business School, we have even tested the idea of using holograms of our lecturers to host talks and classes remotely.
In a similar way, the metaverse has the potential to revolutionise education and training by allowing teachers and students logging on from all parts of the world to meet and interact within a virtual space. There’s no practical reason a company’s entire staff training programme can’t be taught and hosted from the cloud.
Of more immediate concern for companies is what the growth of AI and machine learning will mean for cybersecurity. Some commentators have suggested AI can “solve” the cybersecurity problem once and for all, by giving businesses the tools to make their IT networks un-hackable. This may be overly optimistic for the simple reason that both sides of the cybersecurity struggle – corporate “SecOps” teams and the cybercriminals trying to breach their defences – ultimately have access to the same technology. AI is certainly accelerating advances in cybersecurity but it’s an arms race that looks set to continue – and escalate – indefinitely.
Cybersecurity is just one of a range of issues that highlight an important truth about AI for business: it is creating challenges as well as opportunities. One example is the way in which AI algorithms can unintentionally inherit the biases of the humans who created them. Another is “AI explainability”, which is the question of what happens when an algorithm becomes so complex that no one – not even its programmers – can fully explain how or why it has reached a particular output or decision.
An even bigger challenge for companies that are relatively new to the possibilities of AI is the conundrum of when and how to get involved in the first place. This can lead to a kind of paralysis, in which companies endlessly wait to see how a new technology will develop. Their caution is understandable. However, when you’re dealing with a rapidly evolving new technology, waiting until tomorrow is nearly always a mistake. That’s why it is vital for every business to start grappling with the challenges and opportunities of AI today – otherwise they will simply never catch up.