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AI spreads in Industry

Graphic showing how AI is being used in 2022 in Industry, based on interviews to Industries that have declared the use of AI in products, in production and business processes. Image credit: McKinsey

I am finding myself writing more and more about artificial intelligence, its progress and the growing fields of applications. It is not just me. Reading the McKinsey  Digital Tech Highlights from 2022 in eight charts AI makes to the top.

As shown in the graphic, AI has been spreading to several areas in industry. First one notices that GAN – Generative Adversarial Networks and Transformers are the ones less prominent but this shouldn’t be a surprise since they are the new kids on the block.

Robotic Process Automation -RPA- makes it to the top in terms of AI adoption, followed by computer vision (that in manufacturing and industry in general is closely  related to robots and automation.

Natural language text understanding, virtual agents conversational interfaces  and deep learning come close to the top as well.

I found interesting to see that artificial intelligence is starting to become embedded in Digital Twins a signal that industry is interested in shifting to the digital space and to hand over part of control to autonomous entities.

The McKinsey report points out that the penetration of AI in industry seems to have reached a plateau in terms of adoption but it kept growing in terms of capabilities and their exploitation in many industrial areas. It would seem like those industries that have adopted AI over the past 3 years are increasing their usage but the overall number of industry adopting AI has not increased.

This might change, as noticed in the report, with the advent of generative AI (and the new ChatGPT) since this wave lowers the thresholds of complexity in adoption and management, letting smaller companies to jump on the AI bandwagon. This might indeed be the case. In my experience in the Italian landscape many medium small companies are not acquiring AI because of lack of understanding in how to apply it and lack of skill in managing the new environment. Anitec Assinform, the association of information technology industry (basically representing the “offer” of AI) is starting a roadshow targeting small medium companies to explain plus and minus of AI, the adoption hurdles and ways to overcome them.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.

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