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article imageArtificial intelligence will transform productivity: Report

By Tim Sandle     Dec 18, 2017 in Business
London - A recent report from PwC describes how artificial intelligence will transform the productivity of companies and have a significant impact on the GDP potential of the global economy. This will primarily be from product enhancements.
The report, headed “Sizing the prize”, establishes that for many businesses to grow, they need to make strategic investments into artificial intelligence technology. This is based on the premise that to stimulate consumer demand, product enhancements are required.
Here artificial intelligence platforms can drive greater product variety, such as increased personalization, attractiveness and affordability of products over time. The emphasis upon personalization reflects a drift towards niche products, tailored to the specific consumers and a move away from mass production models in some sectors.
In total, PwC calculated that artificial intelligence could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. This is by taking into account the totality of innovation across healthcare, automobiles, financial services, transportation, logistics, retail, utilities and manufacturing.
Financial services
The World Bank headquarters in Washington DC
World Bank is an internationally supported bank that provides loans to developing countries.
Photo by Shiny Things
Taking financial services as an example, artificial intelligence can reduce costs and save time. This can be achieved through developments such as robo-advisors which provides customized investment solutions for businesses and consumers. These services enable investors to manage finances in real-time to match goals and to optimize funds. The main barrier to realizing this new kind of service is customer acceptance.
As an example, global bank HSBC plans to launch an online investment advice service in early 2018.
13 moving trucks seized in fraud investigation
13 moving trucks seized in fraud investigation
Toronto Police handout
For the logistics sector, innovations in autonomous trucking can lower costs and lead to increased asset utilization, making 24/7 runtimes possible. Transportation is set for major disruption, PwC argued in their report, through an array of startups seeking to develop autonomous trucks.
The main barrier at this point in time is the safety of the technology and the need to test it out on the road. The startup Embark has begun hauling refrigerators 650 miles along the I-10 freeway using autonomous trucks. The journey begins from a warehouse in El Paso, Texas and ends at a distribution center in Palm Springs, California. A human driver is currently on board each truck in case of a safety incident.
Clean power:  A wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains of California
Clean power: A wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains of California
Photo by Stan Shebs
With utilities some of the biggest changes have been seen in the energy sector. For example, smart meters help businesses to tailor their energy consumption and lower costs. A wider usage of smart meters opens up a large source of data, which paves the way for more customized tariffs.
Various utility companies provide smart meters, such as Smart Energy GB. With such services, energy suppliers can respond more quickly if a business suffers from a power cut.
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