For long Artificial Intelligence has been hailed as the next iteration of a computer. Simulation of human intelligence to replace routine human activities, making computers and software autonomous, making decisions about data retrieval, storage, artificial neural networks and machine learning to classify, filter and predict data- the possibilities of AI are limitless. The imperative of continued social distancing has made an AI-driven economic world order today’s reality. The current pandemic has only accelerated the adoption and development of AI models and the world is set to undergo a fundamental restructuring with its usage becoming more mainstream.

A look at how AI is reshaping the world now and how it will continue to do so in the coming future:

THE PANDEMIC WATCHDOG

The Spanish Virus in the previous century took a toll on many countries of the world, and no epidemiologist could predict the spread of the virus. This time around, thanks to AI, we seem to have some handle on how the disease is spreading. This technology is helpful in proper screening, tracking and predicting the current and future patients for early detection and diagnosis of the infection. It can help identify the vulnerable regions using data from social media and other media platforms about its likely spread and simulate the death rate based on the neighboring region’s mortality rate.

disease data recorded through AI

AI can also be used for effective diagnosis of Covid-19 patients. AI models are already being used to generate the probability of a patient being positive. AI models draw upon medical information such as chest CT scan and clinical information like travel and exposure history, presence of fever, cough as well as age and gender. A combination of all these pieces of information has helped to effectively predict the probabilities of COVID positivity. Especially when the asymptomatic spread of the disease is a real troubling possibility, AI models can robustly identify the patient categories that could be carrying the disease and prescribe measures such as quarantining early on, further aiding the endeavors to limit its spread. 

HOW RECRUITMENT WILL CHANGE

AI and machine learning are already changing the way employees are being recruited. These tools will enable paring through thousands of profiles and compiling a list of relevant candidates efficiently. Ai tools will help businesses hire remote workers. Assessment of candidate’s skills, insights into his/her personality and gauging the level of fit with their company, grading of online employee assignments and psychometric tests using natural language processing and facial recognition are next-gen applications of AI that will increase the reach of the HR team of a company and finding prospective candidates quicker and from a bigger pool of potential candidates.

SEARCH ENGINE FINE TUNING

If google’s search engine was not already bringing you to the right website for your needs in the first page itself, it is already investing in applications for information retrieval. Like Google’s BERT technology can process a word of the search text in the context of off all other terms in the sentence, rather than each word, one by one. Customization of search results based on user browsing history or preferences of the user is a new application of machine learning that is in the offing for deployment.

AI RESPONDING

CREDIT RATING AGENCIES

Credit Rating Agencies, as their names suggest have to rate the credit worthiness of companies and borrowers. Unfortunately, most credit ratings are done based on historical data and most do not take into account current market information.  Artificial Intelligence can serve as a very useful tool to identify the early warning signals of deterioration of credit quality and signal to investors and banks about possible financial trouble that the company might be in.

AI can serve as a tool for monitoring rated entities through means such as social media and corporate filings and current market information (stock market data) to capture trends useful for rating and improve supervision of the company’s financial health. RBI Itself has urged Credit rating agencies to adopt this tool for better credit rating.

COMBATING TERRORISM

While it might seem at first to be a farfetched idea that AI can combat terrorism, there are real possibilities of utilizing AI to nip terrorist activities in the bud. Terror Financing is a real scourge and the main reason for the burgeoning terrorist activities across the world. Terrorism has seeped into the digital world and is making use of cyber-crime networks as well. The use of AI techniques such as artificial neural networks and social network analysis can help identify unusual behavior patterns and raise red flags about possible miscreants.

Similarly terror financing can be traced using AI to establish the trail of movement of funds across borders and accounts. AI can gather data from past terrorist skirmishes and create a database of each terrorist activity which can be linked to various factors, map out the trail of terrorist activities and triangulate likely hideouts or next target locations.

EMPLOYMENT OVERHAUL

There is an age-old fear that AI will displace workers by automating routine activities, or make complex calculations automatic, and doing away with the need for human involvement. A report by Management consulting firm McKinsey shows that between 400 and 800 million individuals could be replaced by automation and necessitate the need to look for new jobs. This might lead to what economists call structural unemployment. But as the saying goes, every change is an opportunity for reinvention, the change in employment will present the opportunity to adapt and work smarter and create new kinds of jobs. Research by PwC suggests that AI will add more to Global GDP by 2030 than the combined output of China and India. 

Like the farmers faced disruption during the Industrial Revolution, a host of jobs will face widespread disruption because of the developments taking place in the field of AI. Some of the many that are set to undergo this overhaul are insurance underwriting, warehouse and manufacturing jobs, customer service, research and data entry, accountants, factory workers, radiologists, etc. The pace of AI growth will impact both educated and blue collar workers alike.

EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE ON AI

Reskilling of workers is going to be crucial and workers are going to have to start fresh again with a new blank slate. Companies that focus on employee reskilling will maintain their competitive edge. Also, increased adoption of technology will also necessitate the need for training, maintenance, monitoring AI so it does not run roughshod over the company’s information systems etc. This will create the need for human involvement. For the foreseeable future, there will be job growth in most sectors set to be impacted by AI.

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