What Does the Next Wave of AI Innovation Look Like?
Kayla Matthews

Technology may shape the way people live, but sometimes the inverse is also true. In many ways, the issues of 2020 will drive the innovations of 2021, especially in AI. You can determine what AI research and development will look like by looking at where it needs to go from here.

AI expert Mark Gorenberg predicts that the pandemic will spur an AI revolution, just as the Great Recession did for big data. As the outbreak and subsequent recession reveal the world's shortcomings, AI will rise to fix them. The next generation of AI will be one that addresses the problems of today.

Medical Research

If the pandemic has highlighted one area of need, it's the health and medicine sector. Healthcare systems need better tools to be able to predict and respond to any outbreaks in the future. The predictive power of AI offers a solution.

Researchers are already using AI to find drugs that could potentially fight COVID-19. A National Science Foundation-funded supercomputer program is using machine learning to run simulations about how the virus interacts with different compounds. Using the results from these simulations, scientists could find potential vaccines to start testing.

As people recognize the value of systems like these, it will lead to further research and development. In the coming years, you'll see a broader emphasis on healthcare technologies in the AI industry. AI could help scientists predict and prevent outbreaks or treat them faster if they do occur.

Navigating New Data Regulations

As big data becomes more of standard practice, data governance is a more pressing concern. People are becoming more aware of how companies are gathering their information, which will likely lead to more data regulations. In response, companies will turn to AI to ensure they don't violate any privacy laws with their data use.

AI solutions can help institutions balance convenience for their customers with privacy and security. With the help of AI, organizations like banks can manage data across multiple platforms, keeping customer information safe while still making it accessible. Handling these things manually could make it more challenging to stay within increasing guidelines.

Automating data management will become increasingly critical to businesses as both data and regulations grow. AI that can understand and follow restrictions like the GDPR will become a necessity.

National Security

The past couple of years have also brought new emphasis to the importance of cybersecurity. AI in cybersecurity is nothing new, and many organizations employ it already, but you don't see it on a national level. As cyber-risks have become more prominent, though, AI will play a more significant role in national security.

Government adoption of technology is typically slower than that you see in the private sector. AI has already established itself in the commercial world, so the logical next step is the government. For national security agencies to implement these technologies, though, AI will have to prove its reliability and security.

Governments in the U.S. and Europe experienced several cyber attacks from threat actors like North Korea this year. To combat these rising threats, agencies will have to turn to AI. As a result, cybersecurity AI will evolve rapidly over the next few years.

AI in the IoT

The convergence of separate technologies is a natural step in development. One of the most noteworthy you'll see in the future is the marriage of AI and the IoT. As the IoT grows, so will AI functionality in these devices.

The IoT is a provides AI with the landscape necessary for it to see wider adoption and implementation. AI technologies like self-driving cars will need to take advantage of edge computing, which requires the IoT. AI development in the coming years will shift towards IoT platforms.

AI-enabled IoT devices will also make smart cities a possibility. In the face of growing environmental and sociological concerns, that's a needed improvement. You can already see this trend starting to take place, and it will only increase from here.

An AI Revolution Is Coming Soon

The world stands on the cusp on a technological revolution. AI may not be new technology, but it's still growing, changing, and driving innovation. In the next few years, AI will see much wider adoption and an unprecedented period of advancement.

Technological shifts typically follow significant cultural or societal events. The tumultuous period that has been 2020 will spur the next wave of AI technologies.