Will COVID-19 give AI the stage it’s been needing?

The COVID-driven push to get people working from home en masse is giving AI a chance to rise above its own hype. In fact over the past few months it’s been shining as the star it should one day be—always and just about everywhere.

So believes a Bloomberg Opinion columnist who works the technology beat.

Noting the pandemic’s effect on tech executives across numerous industries—many decision-makers have invested in cloud computing and moved much work online—writer Tae Kim suggests these supposedly temporary steps are helping organizations work smarter rather than harder.

And the large-scale streamlining hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Indeed, the unfolding centralization of corporate data in the cloud is “precisely what’s needed for companies to develop the AI capabilities we’ve been hearing about for so long,” from better predictive algorithms to increased robotic automation, Kim points out. “If business leaders invest aggressively in the right areas, it could be a pivotal moment for the future of innovation.”

Kim builds out the case on some collectively impressive numbers from some reliable sources.

  • There are 5,751 private-held AI companies in the U.S., and AI startups received $17.4 billion in new funding last year (Crunchbase).
  • Global AI spending will close in on $100 billion in 2023 (IDC).
  • Companies and other organizations expect to double their number of AI projects, with more than 40% saying they’ll have at least one in the works by the end of this year (Gartner).

After considering various other aspects of this shift in the COVID economy, including potential downsides, Kim concludes that that the perks of operational improvements as aided by AI are “too big to ignore.

“So long as companies proceed responsibly, years from now, the advances in AI catalyzed by the coronavirus crisis may be one of the silver linings we remember from 2020.”

Kim doesn’t mention healthcare per se, but the reader who substitutes provider organizations for companies will find many of the observations apply anyway.  

Click here to read the whole thing.