With lockdowns, social distancing, and other precautionary measures being enforced everywhere, companies have had to modify their work models to adapt to remote working. The last few months have seen an accelerated escalation in the number of finances allocated to updating powerful cloud computing and industry-friendly AI technologies to smooth over the transition. Artificial Intelligence has allowed for faster scrambling of big data to create better predictive algorithms.
Before the spread of COVID-19, the International Data Corporation had projected a $96.3 billion rise in AI spending in 2023 from $38.4 billion in 2019. This being a pre-pandemic prediction, it is easy to see how ‘understated’ these numbers could be.
“Automation, in any form, whether physical or virtual, has already been the next paradigm shift in business, just waiting to happen. And while we’ve been steadily evolving on this trajectory, advancing scale and service in exceeding increments, the current crisis has shown us how important it is for business to support their workforce and adopt a ‘digitalCOLLEAGUE’ approach.” – Anoop Tiwari, Senior Corporate Vice President at HCL Technologies
AI-powered companies have taken the opportunity to cope with the pandemic by venturing into technologies that aid in disease surveillance, fever detection and facial recognition, Automation of disinfection, information verification, and even serve as virtual healthcare assistants. AI has helped identify patterns from massive amounts of data, which has not only accommodated support for health care but has also minimized the spread of coronavirus.
Taking advantage of the elevated need for AI solutions, many startups have surfaced to be the face of the ‘new normal.’ Blockasapp.ai, an AI-based monitoring drone, is developed to support local bodies and police in their work. Bluesemi, a contactless wireless thermal scanning device, helps to measure the exact temperature of an individual. On the other hand, Byteforce, a crowd monitoring computer vision solution, can be integrated into CCTVs and drones to analyze video footage in real time. All these are just a few examples.
Even Infosys has recently launched its AI-driven ‘Cognitive Email Workbench’ that helps the company with efficient query management and attend only those requests that require manual intervention. Another good example is Gong, a sales software startup that scrambles data to pitch product updates to ready customers, which has now raised a total of $334 million in funding.
“AI could make post-pandemic recovery quicker, easier, and more robust. During the COVID-19 pandemic, AI has been crucial in tackling the healthcare consequences of the disease and other important implications that affect social, economic, and policymaking decisions. The world is facing many challenges as it fights COVID-19, however, advances in AI solutions could be influential in helping predict, detect, and treat future pandemics.” – Dr. Mohammad Yaqub, Assistant Professor at the Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence and Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.
Agritech startups are not behind, and they are making their way from the challenges the pandemic has posed in front of them. AI has effectively aided farmers with streamlining the supply process to transition to online trading of products at better pricing. More than 450 agritech startups in India have opened several opportunities and even drove the sector sustainably.
COVID-19 has driven the acceleration of AI that has the potential to carry us relatively safely through this challenge. AI’s data scrambling capacities have aided growth in health, agriculture, and even the consumer market. While it was gaining popularity pre-pandemic, COVID-19 has pushed for its growth, and the successful use of AI by startups allows it to be a privilege of being a permanent part of our ‘new normal’.