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Rishi Jaluria on the Opportunities of ‘True’ AI

AI plays an increasingly influential role in our everyday lives. But savvy investors will need to separate genuinely AI-enabled businesses from those that just purport to use it.

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By Rishi Jaluria
Published November 10, 2022 | 3 min read
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Key Points

  • Artificial intelligence is increasingly impacting our everyday lives – how we move, how we work and how we socialize.
  • Some concerns exist about the impact it may have on certain jobs and specific sectors – including the potential to automate more white collar roles in the future.
  • Plans are in progress to reskill those impacted and the opportunities for businesses to use AI for efficiency and to better serve customers are ample.
  • Those businesses will likely appeal to investors, who could be tempted by more efficient and more profitable firms.
  • However, not all companies that purport to be AI-enabled truly are – and savvy investors will need to identify those really powered by AI.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is truly the fifth industrial revolution. From Uber to Airbnb, Zoom and Netflix – AI-enabled apps are increasingly influencing our day-to-day lives. They are changing how we move around, where we stay, how we communicate and how we consume entertainment.

AI is enabling these digital experiences to become progressively and continually smarter, personal and relevant – as greater usage provides even more data for them to evolve and ‘learn’ from.

And while true general purpose AI that can reason and think like a human may still be some way off, the potential for AI-enabled technologies to evolve and improve areas such as robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning is now here.

Challenges and concerns

The development of AI will bring both opportunities and challenges. One of those challenges will be concerns around ethics and equity. Previous industrial revolutions automated manual labor – what we called blue collar jobs. AI will automate many white collar jobs, too – roles such as reviewing legal documents, analyzing x-rays and reconciling accounting.

This will lead to questions about how societies adapt and create new jobs to replace those lost to AI. Other concerns center on whether this AI-led disruption will cause large-scale wealth disparity between those with AI-proof jobs and those without. In response, it will be important for governments, regulatory bodies and universities to drive the upskilling and reskilling of people to ensure they are fit for the new AI-driven economy.

AI drives new opportunities

Despite these concerns, we see more benefits than downsides from the continued rise of AI. The advances in software, including ‘low-code’ and ‘no-code’ platforms, RPA or robotic process automation and machine learning, can help plug ongoing skills gap and labor shortages.

There are already clear examples of where AI is adding value to specific sectors. In the education sector, for example, edtech is enabling the delivery of professional certificates remotely and in a way that is tailored to the specific needs of the organization and the individual. Instead of spending four years taking courses in every subject, people can immediately learn specific topics – such as programming – get reviews from industry professionals, and potentially start working right away.

Some universities are also adopting technology to teach more effectively – deploying software to help identify areas of focus within the curriculum, offering personalized learning or even virtual direct tutoring.

In healthcare, the value of telemedicine and virtual healthcare is growing, delivering the ability to book appointments through a website or an app and, instead of taking hours off work to drive and sit in a waiting room, providing immediate access to specialists. Doctors are more productive and can see more patients, while patients are more likely to see doctors and take control of their health. Ultimately, this should drive better patient outcomes.

For consumers, it will continue to create a feeling that digital services and experiences are custom-tailored to you – that the experience you get is different from that of your friends or family because it understands your specific needs and preferences. For companies, it will not only influence their product roadmap, but may help make their employees more efficient, benefiting the bottom line.

Traditionally, we have associated the opportunities of AI with software companies. However, every company today is becoming a software company of some kind – and those companies that embrace true digital transformation and have a true AI mandate should be most primed to leverage the opportunity of AI.

Investors seek out ‘true’ AI

For investors, it has become increasingly important to differentiate between which organizations are ‘truly AI’ and which are not. The greater efficiencies created by AI within businesses will likely appeal to many – but AI as a term is sometimes leveraged by firms in their marketing material but not truly embedded in their business. Savvy investors should drill down into organizations and their use of technology – to examine whether it is truly AI and is genuinely transforming what their customers are doing.

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