People say artificial intelligence (AI) will cause job loss and will cause humans to no longer have control of their lives. The reality is, no one can say how AI will change the world. What cannot be argued is that AI is here and will have some effect on the society. IDC predicts that worldwide revenues from cognitive and AI systems will grow 59.3% this year to $12.5 billion and will achieve a compound growth rate of 54.4% through 2020, when revenues will hit $46 billion.

This should not be a cause of concern but rather, something to get excited about. Why?

AI is not displacing people in a massive way

Automation didn’t just happen overnight. Robots have been used for the last 60 years. AI is all about building computers and machines that emulate human abilities such as learning and thinking. We try to build machines that can predict the future based on complex data sets and can synthesize information to make decisions. AI is designed to take on tasks that are considered laborious and tedious, allowing people to be more creative and focus on innovation.

AI will make businesses more efficient and successful

Predictions based on analysis are mainly based on data that already exists. Many search engine algorithms are based on analyzing past searches. The news feeds that social networks present to users are based on what the system thinks would be interesting based on past searches and texts read. AI is there to emulate humans by doing as we do: they look at past behavior and based on that, try to adjust future actions. Up to this point, AI was the process of giving a machine a task and asking them to continually repeat it. True predictive analysis lets the machines analyze the likelihood of future events and act on that data.

AI can make dramatic positive changes to healthcare

Machine learning can be applied to many fields, one being healthcare.  AI will be able to predict health problems before they occur and allow healthcare providers to shift from treatment to prevention. This can reduce healthcare costs dramatically. AI can help doctors shift from treating problems and diseases to providing strategies and suggestions for a healthier lifestyle.  Accenture predicts that AI would create $150 billion annual savings for the sector by 2026.

Technology will be available to all

One concern regarding AI is that only the big companies will control the technology because they can hire all the manpower in the field, leaving others without access to those critical skills. The free market principle says that small businesses can topple the giants through innovation and new ideas. How can the little guy compete in an environment dominated by big companies with AI capabilities? Simply put, AI will be available to everyone through open source and low-cost solutions. Soon you’ll see the commoditization of AI platforms. There will be technologies that come to market that will allow businesses of all sizes access to do AI on lower-end or more cost-conscious platforms.  The result: the entrepreneur with very little resources will still be able to compete with the more established players.

It’s hard to imagine an industry that will not be affected by AI. In the near future, the human-thinking capable machines will revolutionize our lives and change business and innovation forever.