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New CB Insights Report Reveals Top AI Trends To Watch in 2018

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From the recommended songs we listen to on Spotify to the mobile app that navigates us to the nearest pizza shop, we are interacting with AI on a daily basis. These may seem like small, insignificant interactions, but on a larger scale, the technology behind them is transforming nearly every industry globally.

“AI applications today focus on very narrow tasks. But together, 
these narrow AI-driven tasks are reshaping businesses,
 markets, and industries,” writes research firm CB Insights in its latest report on the 13 top artificial intelligence trends their analysts will be watching over the next year.

CB Insights examined their database of 1,000+ AI companies globally and polled their internal experts to gain a more thorough understanding of how AI is altering industries,

You can read the full report here, but if you don’t have the time right now to dive in, we’ve extracted the top takeaways for marketers and businesspeople.

1. ¡Buenos días, Alexa!

Voice assistant devices are everywhere today—and they’re all powered by AI. Soon, they may be using AI on a multitude of non-English languages.

Nearly every product introduced at CES this year included some integration with Amazon Echo or Google Home. Every one of LG’s new products is wifi-enabled and over 80 of them integrate with Google Home. Samsung is creating its own voice assistant, Bixby, in hopes of connecting it to all of its devices by 2020. And Apple just released its version of a smart speaker, the HomePod.

Competition among these brands is at an all-time high and the newest way to separate from the pack may just be language support.

The three most spoken languages around the globe are Mandarin, Spanish, and English. Currently, Amazon Alexa only supports English, German and Japanese. Similarly, Google Home offers those plus French.

An estimated 400 million people speak Spanish, the second most popular language on earth, making them the most underserved smart home market on the planet. The report expects voice assistants to spend much of 2018 battling it out for dominance in non-English speaking markets.

This is clear proof that AI-powered voice assistants are here to stay and businesses need to put their best foot forward in order to compete. This means marketers need to be sure that their data and listings are optimized for voice search. Yext’s VP of Industry Insights, Duane Forester, outlines steps for getting started here.


2. White-Collar Automation

Blue collar workers won’t be the only ones impacted by artificial intelligence. Consultants, journalists, lawyers, and other blue-collar workers will soon feel the effects of AI-enhanced productivity, specifically when it comes to time-consuming clerical tasks.

Expert Automation & Augmentation Software (EAAS) platforms are growing in popularity due to their ability to reduce time and improve efficiency. In legal work, for example, natural language processing can summarize thousands of legal documents in minutes—a task that could take humans days. Applied across organizations, this kind of productivity enhancement could have a huge impact on the fee structure of law firms that charge by the hour.

However, the report predicts that fields that require a high level of emotional intelligence, such as healthcare and education, will be less affected early on due to the dynamic nature of their tasks.

Marketers should take note: Companies of all sizes are beginning to include AI in their marketing strategy. And AI is being applied to marketing tasks that span writing email subject lines to content creation.

The transformative effects of AI are coming to our industry. It’s time to start learning about the technology.

3. The “Amazon, Google and Microsoft AI Takeover” Show

In the last 5 years, investors have poured over $1.8 billion into AI startups aiming to provide machine learning as a service. Now, these smaller companies may become obsolete as tech giants Amazon, Google and Microsoft continue to improve their enterprise AI offerings.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) now offers “Amazon AI” to serve companies big and small that want the benefits of AI without the upfront costs and hassle. Google now has Cloud ML, a service that enables customers to use their own data to train algorithms to suit their specific needs.

Marketers should expect AI to become more available “out of the box” from companies like these. The opportunities to apply AI will only increase. Whether it’s using Google or Amazon to build your own machine learning model or auditing your current workload for tasks that can be replaced by AI systems, there are hundreds of options for marketers to explore.

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