It’s no longer possible to estimate how much the machine learning and AI markets are worth because the line between what’s an AI-based technology and what isn’t has become so blurred that Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all “AI companies” that also do other stuff.
The year 2019 was a busy one in the data, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence markets. Yes, there was quite a bit of consolidation among some big players with Salesforce acquiring Tableau, Google acquiring Looker, Qlik acquiring Attunity, among others.
- Artificial intelligence: everybody’s doing it.
2020 is expected to be the year for industries that aren’t traditionally known to be adopters of sophisticated technologies like AI, reverse course. Industries like waste management, oil and gas, insurance, telecommunications, and other SMBs to take on projects similar to the ones usually developed by tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM. As the enterprise benefits of AI become more well-known, the industries outside of Silicon Valley will look to integrate these technologies.
If companies don’t adapt to the current trends in AI, they could see tough times in the future. Increased productivity, operational efficiency gains, market share, and revenue are some of the top-line benefits that companies could either capitalize or miss out on in 2020, depending on their implementation. We expect to see a large uptick in technology adoption and implementation from companies big and small as real-world AI applications, particularly within computer vision, become more widely available.
- Hyper personalization:
Another big trend that will continue in 2020 is the disintermediation and the hyper-personalization that is enabled by AI. Consumers have come to expect the kind of service enabled by these two benefits of AI. You can see them when using a car share service like Uber or Lyft. You are less likely to see them if you call your bank or airline. That's an opportunity for other upstart services in 2020 and the decade ahead. In 2020 and beyond a lot of AI and automation companies will start taking human experience more seriously and consider how AI and automation technologies can be used to augment the human experience.
- Automation could go into overdrive:
Add a new word to your vocabulary for 2020: Hyperautomation, meaning the application of advanced technologies like AI and ML to automate processes and augment humans across a range of tools and at a higher level of sophistication. Gartner named hyper-automation one of its top ten strategic technology trends in 2020. Hyperautomation extends across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the sophistication of the automation (i.e., discover, analyze, design, automate, measure, monitor, reassess.) explains Gartner.
- AI isn’t perfect; it can perpetuate discrimination and bias.
The analyst firm Forrester anticipates some high-profile PR disasters as a result, which could hurt some companies, but ultimately won’t destroy trust in AI. AI can perpetuate discrimination, and “the spread of deep fakes, misuse of facial recognition, and overuse of personalization can harm, offend, or creep out customers and employees,” Forrester analysts write. In the end, these missteps will serve a larger purpose: highlighting the importance of responsible AI development and deployment.
- AI will become ever more present in cybersecurity:
As hacking, phishing and social engineering attacks become ever-more sophisticated, and themselves powered by AI and advanced prediction algorithms, smart technology will play an increasingly important role in protecting us from these attempted intrusions into our lives. AI can be used to spot giveaway signs that digital activity or transactions follow patterns that are likely to be indicators of nefarious activity, and raise alarms before defenses can be breached and sensitive data compromised.
The rollout of 5G and other super-fast wireless communications technology will bring huge opportunities for businesses to provide services in new and innovative ways, but they will also potentially open us up to more sophisticated cyber-attacks. Spending on cybersecurity will continue to increase, and those with relevant skills will be highly sought-after.
Here’s hoping your 2020 is fantastic. And, if we can attempt a final prediction: stay tuned to ONE BCG because we’re going to dive deeper into the world of artificial intelligence in 2020 than ever before. It’s going to be a great year for humans and machines.