Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to be the most disruptive technology in the next decade due to the astonishing developments in computational power, volume, speed and variety of data, as well as progress in deep neural networks. Moving forward from pioneer and pilot steps, business analyst Gartner estimates that AI potential business value will reach over USD 3.9 trillion within the next five years, hitting about USD 1.2 trillion in 2018 alone. Following the typical S-shaped curve pattern of emerging technologies, the +70% growth rate of this first year will slow down through 2022, nevertheless maintaining an interesting trend.

According to Gartner, AI will primarily deliver its business value is in the realm of customer experience, as companies are increasingly using tools such as virtual agents and digital assistants to support interactions with clients. Handling simple requests coming from websites, social media and call centers, chatbots contribute to customer care processes and allow human operators to focus on more complex questions. Agents can be programmed even for basic sales activities (such as roboadvisors suggesting investments or financial services) or as employee assistants to support calendaring, scheduling and other administrative tasks.

Decision support and augmentation is the second domain where AI will better express its potential value. Thanks to algorithm-based applications, deep neural networks allow organizations to perform data mining and elaborate large data sets, creating tools to feed traditional programming systems. This can automate and significantly improve decision and interaction processes, reducing costs and risks, but also unlocking new value in marketing and sales efforts.

Gartner emphasizes that AI will impact even on decision automation systems, enabling tools to automate tasks and optimize business processes. Considering tasks such as translating voice to text and vice versa, processing handwritten forms or images, or classifying rich data contents, AI will contribute to more efficient and productive organizations.

In the long run, the business value of AI has not been fully unveiled yet. Machine learning and the capability of processing information in new and different ways, open up a world of possibilities that isn’t imaginable today.