AI’s Expanded Role in the Economy

Artificial intelligence and it’s impact on the economy represented with miniature vehicles, a circuit board, and shipping boxes.

Artificial Intelligence [AI] has evolved rapidly in the last several years. Advances in this technology have simplified business and expanded opportunities for many firms. In fact, companies that have adopted AI outperform their peers by 2x, adding an average of 5-6% to their revenue as a direct result.

Nearly every aspect of business – from identifying problems to getting solutions into consumers’ hands – has been enhanced by AI. While this technology varies widely by application, its role in the economy typically falls into four categories: improving efficiency, solving problems, connecting buyers and sellers, and creating content.

AI Improves Efficiency

The concept of AI is based on specialized algorithms that can automatically adapt to new data without additional human programming. These algorithms can even write code to support their assigned tasks. This adaptive technology is helping businesses rapidly improve efficiency – particularly in the manufacturing and logistics sectors.

AI Lowers Costs in Manufacturing

In the manufacturing sector, predictive AI can improve capacity and outcomes by forecasting when machine maintenance will be needed and automating some aspects of quality control. By leveraging AI, companies can reduce quality control and machine errors that often lead to increased maintenance costs and downtime.

AI also helps to reduce waste in the manufacturing process by predicting needs and uncovering ways to use materials more efficiently. In addition, AI can help manufacturers forecast demand for each of their product lines to help optimize their inventory. This helps businesses avoid overproducing while ensuring they make enough of their products to meet customer demand.

AI Reduces Effort in Logistics

Logistics companies use AI to reduce effort and maximize the utility of resources. One way they do this is through route management. AI can determine the best shipping routes and the right number of containers to move products much faster than their human counterparts. This technology aids in minimizing wasted space, fuel, and time. In the coming years, AI powered autonomous vehicles and drones are likely to further benefit the logistics industry.

With improved efficiency, companies that implement AI solutions can reduce their costs and, in some cases, their workforce. These lower costs can add to profitability and help propel the economy forward.

AI Helps Solve Complex Problems

One of the main benefits of AI is its ability to access and interpret large quantities of data. This is particularly beneficial in the fields of economics and healthcare, where AI is helping to solve complex problems.

AI Improves Data Analysis in Economics

AI-augmented statistical modeling is changing the way that economic information is interpreted. For example, Professor Kate Seregina of Colby College is working to create a new economic model that can explain the interconnectedness of macro- and micro-economic events.

Using AI, economists like Seregina can incorporate a much wider range of data to draw more specific, actionable conclusions. Businesses can then use this information to aid their forecasts and tailor decisions to the economic environment.

AI Provides Solutions in Healthcare

AI has benefited nearly every aspect of healthcare such as improving preventative care, aiding in diagnosis and treatment, and even assisting in the development of new treatments. For example, IBM’s Watson for Health analyzes medical data from around the world to aid doctors in diagnosing and treating medical conditions.

AI-powered problem solving could transform industries beyond healthcare and economics. With these technologies, the manpower needed to collect and analyze data can be greatly reduced, allowing businesses to adapt more quickly and provide higher-quality outcomes.

AI Connects Buyers and Sellers

Product recommendations are one of the most widely used business applications of AI in the 21st century. Social media, search engine, and advertising platforms drive product visibility by leveraging AI to interpret customer behavior and determine users that might benefit from a particular product. This allows businesses to target advertisements to the people who are most likely to purchase their offerings.

AI powered advertising also allows businesses to receive data about how potential customers react to their products and advertisements. With this data, and AI analytics, firms can locate gaps in their product offerings, tailor new products to be most effective, and hone their marketing strategy.

AI targeted ads can help businesses improve the outcomes of their advertising efforts while reducing manual work. With lower expenses, more sales, and additional data about consumer behavior, firms can drive profitability and innovation.

AI Creates Content

A new subsection of AI, called “generative AI,” seeks to create content from a set of user provided instructions. Services like Stable Diffusion and DALL-E create custom images based on text input, while ChatGPT and YouChat write content. In addition, Jukebox and AIVA can apply these same principles to the creation of music. Some businesses have begun to use these technologies as a low-cost addition to their marketing programs, but these tactics have created new problems and prompted ethical questions.

Like other AI technologies, generative AI needs a vast dataset to work from. The data being used by AI content applications comes from artists, musicians, writers, and other content creators who often did not consent to have their creations used as a framework for AI. As such, there are numerous lawsuits that claim AI infringes on copyrighted works. Many of these lawsuits are still ongoing, and the role of AI in content creation is likely to depend on the outcomes.

AI is a rapidly growing sector of the economy, and many believe that the current technologies are just the tip of the iceberg. Still, AI has already integrated into many industries and business processes. With such widespread success in a multitude of applications, investment in new AI development continues to climb. In fact, AI patents increased by 30x from 2015 to 2021. While it is difficult to predict precisely how AI will grow in the coming years, it is easy to see that AI technologies could shape the future of business and the economy.

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