AI in a post-pandemic economy
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The global economy is on the verge of finally getting back on its feet now that COVID-19 appears to be on the decline (fingers crossed). But while people around the world hope that everything will return to normal soon, technologies like artificial intelligence are already creating a new business environment that will be markedly different from the old one.
In many cases, AI has been a key factor in keeping critical sectors of the economy afloat during the worst of the past year. When the workforce returned home, companies accelerated the deployment of smart technologies. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, even as hiring starts to pick up and workers are returning to the office.
High hopes for AI
the AI in a global post-COVID-19 report by GBSN Research recently revealed that three quarters of business leaders have a positive view of AI and expect it to not only make processes more efficient, but also help create new products, services and business models. This is supported by another report from management solutions provider OneStream, which found that the use of AI tools like machine learning has grown from around 20% of businesses in 2020 to almost 60% in 2021. This is despite the fact that, according to analytics companies FICO and Corinium, over 65% of senior executives don’t know exactly how AI works or how it makes decisions.
Yet the impact of AI on post-pandemic business models is undeniable. In the healthcare industry, for example, supply chain issues have long hampered patient success significantly – a fact that has come to light with the manufacture and distribution of the various COVID-19 vaccines. The supply chains of all industrial sectors are becoming increasingly diverse and digitally driven, making them difficult to coordinate. But as the World Health Organization Note, AI-powered management solutions provide end-to-end visibility of these complex structures, enabling organizations to take advantage of oversupply, streamlined delivery routes, and consumer buying models. All of this helps reduce prices and ensure that drugs and other supplies reach the patients who need them.
The travel industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, but companies in the sector have taken the opportunity to upgrade many of their systems and processes with AI-powered technology. Time magazine recently highlighted Alaska Airlines’ use of an AI-based flight management system that compiles and analyzes disparate data sets much faster than human operators could. The airline uses it to shorten flight times, minimize delays, and reduce costs and problems for travelers. It should be noted that these tools are used to supplement the activities of human dispatchers, not to replace them.
A new shopping experience
Some of the most profound changes in the post-pandemic world are likely to occur in the retail industry. Even before the virus hit, retail had already undergone a drastic shift to e-commerce, a transition that only accelerated during the lockdown. As CEO of Absolutdata Anil Kaul recently pointed out that e-commerce leaders like Amazon and eBay were already aware of a wide range of smart analytics and management tools before the pandemic, but now it appears the retail industry , including traditional brick-and-mortar vendors, is embracing the new model.
Much of this is due to the COVID-fueled shift in shopping habits that most experts believe will stick around even after it’s safe to mingle in public again. To this end, retail establishments in all fields are putting AI to good use for tasks as diverse as identifying more precise prices; spot key promotional opportunities, such as sales and bundles; and even design more efficient in-store displays. In the future, customers will likely see AI piloting new tools, such as interactive help kiosks, fully automated feedback windows, and autonomous replenishment robots.
Like any emerging technology, AI will undoubtedly undergo the familiar pattern of myth-based hype followed by reality-based disillusionment before settling into an extended period of rough equilibrium and then into a final stage. marked by disruption and replacement with something new. For now, AI is seen as the harbinger of faster, cheaper and cheaper business processes on the one hand, and rampant job losses and a world dominated by evil and uncontrollable robots. on the other hand.
While it’s likely that none of these will turn out to be entirely true, one thing seems clear: the normal of the post-pandemic, AI-powered economy will be drastically different from the normal we see today. ‘hui.
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