Artificial Intelligence Top Trends of 2021
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most fascinating scientific fields today. A simple search for “artificial intelligence” on Google Trends shows how popular this research field has become over time. However, what’s interesting about artificial intelligence is not so much its popularity but the tremendous effect it has already had on our daily lives – its use has expanded to technologies we perhaps never expected.
Top 5 AI Trends for 2021
AI is now making its way into many fields; one of them is medicine where it’s already becoming a game changer. Below, I’ll discuss several AI Trends for 2021 made by top scientists in the field (see also my article “All About Artificial Intelligence Predictions”).
1. Healthcare AI is already playing a major role in medicine – whether it be used to help doctors making diagnoses or recommending treatments, or to assist patients with chronic diseases. This year we will see AI making even greater inroads into medical research, healthcare delivery and other related fields.
AI has become a valuable tool in the hands of physicians. The likely future role for AI in medicine is that it will play an increasingly important role improving diagnosis accuracy – whether it be automated detection of brain tumors or other common health problems. In addition, AI will help to make personalized medicines possible – drugs customized specifically to fit each patient’s genetic makeup. But perhaps one of the most exciting applications of AI in medicine is the use of deep learning neural networks (see also my article “Deep Learning”). These systems are relatively new but already they have proven their feasibility by achieving very high levels of performance on all sorts of complex tasks involving vision, audio recognition etc. See my article “What Is Deep Learning?” for more information.
We’re just scratching the surface of how AI can be used to advance healthcare delivery – one report predicts that by 2030, artificial intelligence will save $100 billion in healthcare costs! Several companies are developing chatbots (see also my article “What’s a Chatbot?”) to provide answers to common medical questions; this is an area highly promising and ripe with potential. My guess is that there will be several applications of AI in medicine. Some may not work out as expected, but others will prove their worth very quickly. There’s no doubt that AI has already made its way into medicine and it will continue to do so at an increasing pace!
2. Self-driving cars are already a reality and they’re here to stay! In 2016, self-driving cars made headlines when Alphabet’s Waymo company announced that its fleet of autonomous vehicles had driven more than 2 million miles, safely. The public also got a glimpse at Tesla’s fully autonomous vehicle which can do many things by itself – including changing lanes, parking etc. And Uber has been testing self-driving cars for some time now.
It will be exciting to see how this market will evolve in 2017, with companies like Tesla planning to release the first truly self-driving car this year (and maybe even before April comes to an end). I’m sure there will be some mishaps along the way but eventually we’ll reach the point where most people will own one of these self-driving cars. Of course, for this to happen, we’ll need fully autonomous vehicles which can maneuvre in cities as well as on highways.
3. Big data is already making a huge difference and it will continue to do so in 2017! Ever since the Industrial Revolution and its demand for efficient machines and processes, more and more data has been generated. Fast forward to today, with the Internet of Things (IoT) producing so much data that it’s impossible for us to keep up with all of it – which is why AI will be needed in order to make sense of what big data is telling us about our world.
The amount of data we have today is truly staggering. Citibank estimates that 90% of all the world’s data has been created in the past 2 years alone! And a 2016 Cisco report states that by 2022, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet – virtually everything around us, from our home appliances to industrial machines and even animals etc. will be connected to the Internet.
This is great news for companies and organizations but it also poses some major challenges: how do we make sense of all this data? Well, more importantly, how can we use this data in order to benefit humanity? We need tools that will help us analyze and interpret all the data out there so we can find the right patterns, discover new insights and take advantage of them. A great example is how Heineken used data to gain a competitive advantage over other beer companies by analyzing consumer behavior.
Big companies are already making good use of big data, the world’s data will be equal to 174 times all of the inform information stored in Google, Yahoo and Microsoft combined! More importantly, it is estimated that only 1% of this data has been looked Internet at or analyzed – showing how much value that there is still on “old” data.
There are numerous examples of big data giving us important insights (see also my article “How Big Data Is Being Used To Better Our World”) but it will take years, or even decades for us to learn how to fully use it. We are still at the very beginning of this data revolution.
4. Industry 4.0 is already here – it’s was coined by German industry leaders who predicted that with the rise of new technology, there would come a fundamental shift in manufacturing methods, business models and society as a whole. Perhaps the best definition comes from the National Centre for Competence Research (NCCR): “Industry 4.0 refers to the digital transformation of industry. It describes the evolution from just automating processes towards integrated systems that intelligently co-ordinate physical products and virtual services”.
This revolution is driven by three major factors: connectivity, data management and robotics. With faster networks, more intelligent devices (think about your smartphone) and the ability to connect these devices together using cloud computing, we can now automate and optimize much more than what we could before.
It’s not just the manufacturing process that is being automated but just about every aspect of our lives: from transportation to healthcare. There are several societal benefits as well such as higher productivity and lower energy consumption. However, this also means that many jobs will become obsolete – it’s estimated that 45% of all the jobs in the US may be automated by 2030!
5. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will continue to improve and become more widespread in 2017. VR can be defined as an artificial digital environment which you experience using a range of devices like headsets, glasses etc.. It creates a sensory experience for you (sound, visual, touch etc.) and it can be either passive (watching a movie on a VR headset) or interactive (playing a video game).
AR is an evolution of VR whereby this artificial environment interacts with the user’s environment. You can think of it as: “what if”, instead of wearing goggles and being completely cut-off from reality, you’re able to see digital elements superimposed onto your real surroundings. This technology has tons of potential applications but just like any new technology, it will take time before we fully harness its power – I’m confident that indeed, the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.