Global
20 January 2022

9 Emerging AI Trends to Watch in 2022

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We could tell you that “artificial intelligence is going to be big” next year. But we wouldn’t lie to you.  AI is already huge—and the AI trends coming next year are set to transform multiple industries and how we do business across the world.

McKinsey’s global report, The State of AI, found that 56% of companies now use AI in 2021—up from 50% in 2020. The growing adoption will inevitably change the consumer experience for the better and mark the continuing global shift toward ever-evolving AI solutions.

Read on as we discuss nine AI trends that will change the world for the better in 2022

9 Emerging AI Trends to Watch in 2022  

The impact of AI on our world is growing steadily across multiple industries. With that in mind, let's look at nine areas where we expect AI trends to affect the most significant transformation in the year ahead. 

Autonomous Vehicles

The self-driving car has always been a poster child for AI adoption and will continue driving the movement forward next year. You will not only see advances in the market by Apple, GM, Ford, and Google, but the market leader, Tesla, will probably announce full self-driving capability in its cars in 2022.

For other vehicles, AI is further from mass adoption. Still, we think it's likely that 2022 will be a year of firsts—the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) will become the first AI-guided marine vessel to cross the Atlantic while Airbus is working on autonomous and AI-supported aircraft.

Altruistic AI

In stark contrast to the fictional trope of a 'rogue AI,' some of the latest trends in AI focus on how we can use the technology for the global greater good, predicting hurricanes and wildfires, combating climate change, and fostering early education.

We expect initiatives like the distributed computing project, Folding@Home, to become more common next year. As concerns for global health and the environment reach a fever pitch during the pandemic, more companies will look to harness crowdsourced or cloud-provided computing power to run AI systems designed to cure disease, solve scientific problems, and improve the quality of life for people across the globe. 

Decision Intelligence

Decision intelligence is the commercial application of AI to assist business decision-making and help companies maximize profit and growth. The algorithms behind this application of AI enable rapid analysis of vast quantities of data, which makes it easier for businesses to make smarter, more informed choices and simplifies decision-making for users.

We’ve all felt the impact of this technology—YouTube’s notorious video suggesting algorithm is a great example. And with greater adoption across both online and offline industries happening, you can expect to see AI personalized recommendations for everything from your weekly grocery shop to your clothing choices.

Health Chatbots

Chatbots broke into the mainstream as customer service assistants. Now, one of the biggest AI technology trends of the past decade is fast becoming an integral aspect of the healthcare revolution.  

According to the Medical Futurist, investors are backing chatbots with health features, with over $800M invested in at least 14 startups. Gathering personal information, cataloging symptoms, and even transcribing doctors’ notes all fall within the remit of the next generation of chatbots. The improving level of accuracy means that more businesses are also adopting chatbots for internal use. 

Also dubbed virtual assistants, chatbots can respond to simple requests and commands to save employees time, ease transitions into a new job or role, and even perform scheduling, HR, or news functions.

Creative AI

If you’re a fiction buff, you may be familiar with the AI-written Harry Potter chapter, generated back in 2017 as an early experiment in AI creative writing. More recently, AI-generated art has become accessible thanks to a smartphone app, producing strange but oddly apt images based on whatever words the user inputs.

Both of these examples sit somewhere in the AI ‘uncanny valley’—they possess a distinctly computer-generated quality. Creative AI trends in 2022 will lean towards more mundane but less detectable roles, such as generating newspaper headlines and even whole articles.

With creative AI transitioning from showcase pieces to workhorse applications, you will likely see more AI-generated logos, infographics, articles, and possibly even videos—without even realizing it.

No-Code AI

Just as your computer or smartphone operating system makes it possible for you to read this article without knowing how to write code, no-code AI makes it possible for businesses to deploy AI solutions without needing to hire expensive software developers. 

As Forbes reports, no-code solutions “help democratize the use of AI and machine learning,” so we should see an uptick in adoption rates in the year ahead. Since accomplished AI coders write no-code AI products, it's likely that this industry will itself make use of AI solutions to continually improve its product offerings.

Enhanced Cybersecurity

An AI security guard is the ideal counter to cybercrime—constantly vigilant and monitoring a vast number of networks, connections, and transactions.

IBM Security provides businesses with just this type of AI support. Client businesses can benefit from network alerts, automated security functions, and network analytics on a scale that isn't possible or practical for human operators.

As cybercriminals are expected to incorporate increasingly sophisticated AI solutions throughout 2022, the need for advanced cybersecurity solutions will grow as more companies demand the means of fortifying their security posture against hackers.

Improved Language Modeling

Language modeling is the ability of an AI program or device to understand the context and meaning of words and to respond to them. Amazon's Alexa is an example of a relatively simple use of language modeling.

GPT-3 is currently the largest language modeling artificial neural network ever created. A product of OpenAI, this technology can produce original statements, computer code, stories, poems—almost anything you could ask it to produce, in human-like text output.

Work has already started on GPT-4, which may be up to 500 times larger than its predecessor. When you consider this alongside advances in scaling such as those displayed by DeepMind’s RETRO model, the potential for language modeling AI in 2022 is enormous.

Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis is one of the more interesting AI technology trends which focuses on interpreting text or spoken words. This type of sentiment analysis trawls internal datasets, including assets like CRM records, employee notes, phone records, and the internet, before producing a summarized evaluation for your business.  

Reports like this neatly break down user opinion into areas for improvement, giving businesses easily actionable tasks to focus on to improve customer satisfaction.

German startup, Cauliflower.ai, uses an AI-based multilingual sentiment analysis tool to enhance a range of business processes, including customer feedback analysis, automating customer support tickets, and sales forecasting.    

With powerful tools like this at their disposal, early adopters can vastly improve the quality of customer service they provide and ultimately dominate their respective markets.

3 Barriers to AI Adoption

While the benefits of AI speak for themselves, as an emerging technology, there are some inherent challenges:

Tech Stack

If you unleash an AI service on an unprepared system, you may not obtain any useful results, or worse, your results may not properly reflect reality. You must do your due diligence to prepare your existing infrastructure for the addition of a new AI application. 

Think about how you manage your data. Does every data system communicate with every other one smoothly? Is your data reliable? There is a lot to consider, such as data backups, accessibility, processing resources, visualizations, developer tools, and UI frameworks. 

AI Governance

While a recent cross-industry survey found that 95% of respondents believed that AI would benefit their organizations, only 6% of those organizations have an AI leader responsible for AI strategy and governance.

Before diving into a new AI project, companies must define their objectives and how they will measure success. Determine how you will know if you are generating an effective, unbiased, profitable return on your AI investment.

Talent

Lastly, companies cannot ignore the skills gap. According to CIO Dive, there were over 360,000 available tech roles in October 2021—the highest monthly total since September 2019.

Despite the best-laid plans and grand ambitions, companies must overcome the challenge of finding the right people to get their AI dreams off the ground. Where will your AI experts come from? Will you hire a new dedicated team, retrain an existing one, outsource responsibility or attempt to integrate AI functions into every employee’s day-to-day responsibilities?

Demand for skilled workers will only increase as AI technologies continue to mature and prove themselves. Having a plan to obtain, maintain and retain skilled workers is just as important as the technology you choose to implement.

Final Thoughts

A global pandemic, fears of escalating inflation, and widespread concerns about an impending climate disaster: we've had a tough year.  

It's ironic that AI, often cast as the villain in so many movies, TV shows, and games, should offer such a hopeful vision of the future. The concept of self-improving AI is no longer science fiction. We are on the cusp of an

AI-driven world, where automation and machine learning offer businesses and consumers greater convenience and user experience on a daily basis.

If you need help developing new AI solutions, MassChallenge connects corporate innovation teams with fresh talent, including AI entrepreneurs. We foster innovation and provide participants with unique opportunities to incorporate and utilize cutting-edge technologies and remain relevant in a changing marketplace.

Ready to find the best talent to harness the latest AI trends? Get in touch with MassChallenge to find your new innovation partners. 

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