For many companies, these are still the early days of artificial intelligence (AI), but already, its impact is being felt across most, if not all, industries. Look deep into where and how AI is being deployed, and it becomes apparent that AI’s applications vary as much as the industries where it’s being implemented. One thing is certain though: Executives in every industry see the value of developing and implementing an AI strategy to increase competitiveness and streamline operations.
For many companies, these are still the early days of artificial intelligence (AI), but already, its impact is being felt across most, if not all, industries.Hero Images/GettyImages
In fact, 60% of the 700 C-level executives recently surveyed by Forbes Insights say AI will be a key enabler of future success. Companies across industries have ambitious plans for the technology and are testing the waters of AI in a variety of ways. 58% of survey respondents are piloting or testing a myriad of AI initiatives within their organizations. Here’s where executives in five key industries from the Forbes Insights survey are looking to AI to have a significant impact on their business practices and priorities:
- Financial services: Risk management (31%) is the top area where financial services executives are looking to apply AI. AI systems can sift through vast amounts of data to spot potential risks, be they financial defaults, revenue shortfalls or supplier issues. Financial services executives also intend to apply AI to making investment predictions (21%) as well as to enhancing their fraud prevention capabilities (17%).
- Energy and utilities: For companies in this sector, 21% are testing AI’s ability to predict consumption demand. AI-driven systems can signal power plants to adjust capacity, based on appliance usage, weather data and other factors. Other uses being considered by executives in these industries include wind power generation (14%), powering autonomous vehicles/equipment (14%), and logistics and delivery (14%).
- Manufacturing: For executives within manufacturing companies, the most promising AI application focuses on smart manufacturing systems (21%). For example, AI that employs remote monitoring data can respond, in real time, to events or anomalies within production systems. Or, AI systems may monitor data streaming from sensors embedded within products to assess wear and tear. In addition, the Forbes Insights survey finds manufacturing executives intend to apply AI to develop intelligent supply chains (16%) as well as enhance their relationship intelligence capabilities (15%).
- Healthcare: In healthcare, executives see AI as a way to deliver better analytics for patient treatments (29%). An AI system, for example, can provide recommendations and feedback to a caregiver that is engaging with a patient, helping to identify potential risk factors, such as drug interactions, as well as suggesting treatment options and assigning patients to specific care regimens or programs. Healthcare executives are also looking to AI to introduce greater intelligence to medical devices themselves (24%). Finally, there’s a benefit on the business side—in this age of electronic healthcare records, healthcare organizations see AI delivering improved recordkeeping (16%).
- Transportation: Executives in this sector are turning to AI systems that perform preventive maintenance (27%). A railroad, for example, could employ data streaming from trackside cameras to measure and predict wear and tear on train wheelsets to head off problems that could result in expensive delays. Another area where transportation executives see AI having a significant impact is its ability to enable lane tracking and analysis of traffic patterns (26%), an application that can be embraced by cities seeking to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. Pedestrian and object detection (22%) is another AI application transportation executives seek to perfect within the next five years, helping to alleviate a key fear with autonomous vehicles.
What’s clear from the survey is that industry executives are just getting started. There is no singular, winning business model or process these executives are looking to AI to transform. Instead, they’re pressure-testing all of them. But the vast majority, 91%, agree—regardless of industry—that their organizations will be more competitive within their sectors over the next few years, thanks to AI.