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Artificial intelligence represents a new way of interfacing with data. With the cost of sensors, data storage, and analytics plunging, nearly every industry can now produce exabytes of data concerning its daily operations, from the temperature of a computer processor to the vibration in a bearing.

AI can work with human data too. Our social media footprints, buying habits, entertainment preferences, and our daily routines offer a wealth of psychological data. AI technology is already being employed to investigate how we think and act, and the media you’re consuming right now may be a product of those algorithms.

Artificial intelligence promises to simplify the analysis of all this data by optimizing the analytic process. By shifting data optimization from humans to computer programs, useful insights into patterns, trends, and applications can be rapidly developed and executed. The broad applications for AI integration, coupled with the massive benefits it can provide, have led many experts to consider AI as the fourth industrial revolution. It’s a brave new world, and industry leaders are betting big on their new robot overlords. Here’s a look at six industries that have massive potential for AI integration.

1. Logistics and distribution

Shipping and logistics is a global enterprise, with a combined revenue estimated at about $8 trillion. Responding to plummeting costs for sensors and data storage, industry leaders are now looking to artificial intelligence and machine learning for even greater improvements to efficiency.


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Coordinating billions of individual products and commodities through the global shipping network is a task already well beyond human management capabilities, and AI systems are sifting through the supply chain. The applications for AI in logistics are broad, covering supply and demand, inventory, coordinated shipping networks, vehicle maintenance scheduling, and more. With AI, distribution could experience “unimaginable levels of optimization in manufacturing, logistics, warehousing and last mile delivery,” said German shipping giant DHL in its 2016 Logistics Trend Radar report.

2. Health care

Artificial intelligence could redesign the health care industry from the bottom up. Researchers predict a potential market of $6.7 billion for artificial intelligence systems in the industry by 2021, prompting investment by tech giants like Google, IBM, and a small army of startups. Artificial intelligence also has exciting implications for the design of treatments themselves.

Bleeding-edge medical innovations like CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology could take a massive leap forward as AI algorithms predict the outcomes of gene manipulation. AI tech is also being utilized in the operating room with AI-powered surgical tools — more than three million robot-assisted surgeries have already been performed since the technology was first developed almost twenty years ago.

3. Advertising

Artificial intelligence is finding another home in retail and advertising. Through the use of machine learning algorithms and automated sales associates, robots are taking over the advertising industry, and your personal data is the engine driving the global-scale integration.

AI is already being used to increase the success rates of personalized, targeted advertising on web pages and social media, and it’s being used to sift through massive amounts of buyer preference data to drive trends and inventory for online shopping giants like Amazon and eBay.

The technology still has a way to go before human creativity is completely replaced. The future, however, remains clear; Tim Webster, chief strategy officer at Exchange Lab, tells Adweek that AI technology “will only get better with data and user response.”

4. Finance

Unlike many industries, finance has generated rich pools of data for years, and the strict consistency of banking and finance records make them ideal for trend-spotting and AI-driven pattern recognition. With all that data, AI researchers are already looking for ways to leverage machine learning to streamline common financial challenges such as risk management, loan approvals, portfolio creation, and much more.

There’s plenty of room for innovation, too. Banking algorithms that utilize AI technologies could one day compare the traits of individual customers against market data in real time, and further development could lead to the incorporation of an even greater list of factors in risk assessment, customer profiling, and product recommendations.

AI integration also promises big changes for bigger-picture financial markets. Hedge fund management, banking cybersecurity, and operational efficiency are all potential applications for artificial intelligence.

5. Insurance

Fraudulent insurance claims are a $40 billion problem for insurers, and the massive human labor needed to sift through insurance claims and identify fraud only increases the cost to insurers. Eliminating more fraudulent claims through the use of AI and machine learning could solve both issues, which would hopefully lower rates for customers in the process.

AI is also finding its way into the customer service side of the insurance industry. In a poll conducted by Accenture Consulting, 74 percent of customers said they were ready for computer-generated insurance advice.

6. Streaming and online video

Entertainment heavyweights like Netflix and Amazon Prime really want to get to know you better. Better streaming services and online video have already spurred a massive shift away from traditional entertainment models like cable TV. And streaming services and online entertainment providers are using machine learning to track user preferences across entire libraries of media. Over time, these algorithms function as a neural network to build a custom profile of your viewing preferences, helping them make recommendations that keep you in binge mode even longer.

AI-powered algorithms are fighting the buffering wheel too. Streaming video requires the coordination of lots of data, and that process is made much more efficient by the use of machine learning.

Artificial intelligence as a foundational technology

These six industries aren’t even close to an exhaustive list. The potential for AI integration spans almost every industry, and new innovations are consistently disrupting old methods and practices across the board. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are quickly becoming foundational technologies, similar to the internet, and a sea change of effects is guaranteed to follow. This revolution has many analysts watching closely for the next big breakthrough. With so much data and the processing power to use it, AI integration on a massive scale is likely an inevitability.

Kesley Down is a digital journalist who writes for Elite Daily, Today.com, and Success.com.

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