2018 AI Predictions from PwC

New York-based PwC (FY16 gross revenue of $14.3 billion) has made eight predictions, based on insights from AI experts, as well as what PwC leaders see as they advise clients around the world who are putting AI to work in their own organizations.

AI will impact employers before it impacts employment
According to PwC, AI-savvy employees won’t just need to know how to choose the right algorithm and feed data into an AI model. They’ll also have to know how to interpret the results, need to know when to let the algorithm decide and when to step in themselves.

AI will come down to earth
AI is ready right now to automate increasingly complex processes, identify trends to create business value and provide forward-looking intelligence. This AI is often “entering through the backdoor” as everyday applications incorporate it.

AI will answer the big question about data
Organizations no longer need to decide to “clean up data.” They should start with a business problem and first quantify the benefits of AI. Once data is used to solve one specific problem, further data-driven AI solutions become easier and a virtuous cycle can begin.

Functional specialists, not techies, will decide the AI talent race
As AI leaves the computer lab and enters everyday work processes, domain experts will be even more important than computer scientists. Sixty-seven percent of jobs requiring data science and analytics skills are in fields other than AI, according to the report.

Cyberattacks will be more powerful because of AI—but so will cyberdefense
Intelligent malware and ransomware that learns as it spreads, machine intelligence coordinating global cyberattacks, advanced data analytics to customize attacks: it is all on the way. Since even AI-wary organizations will have no choice but to deploy AI cyberdefense, cybersecurity will be many enterprises’ first foray with AI.

Opening AI’s black box will become a priority
Pressure will grow to open up “black boxes” and make AI explainable. But that involves trade-offs in cost and performance. Enterprises need frameworks to assess business, performance, regulatory and reputational concerns as they decide the right level of AI explainability.

Nations will spar over AI
AI is a gigantic opportunity, and many governments are working to make sure that their countries get a big piece of the pie. Canada, Japan, the U.K., Germany and the UAE all have national AI plans. Tax reform and deregulation in the US may give AI a boost in the U.S.

Pressure for responsible AI won’t be on tech companies alone
Self-regulatory organizations will likely be a growing solution to the gaps in responsible AI usage that regulators leave behind.

Read the full report here.