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4 Key AI Innovations That Made a Splash in 2019

Liz Alton
December 11, 2019

3 minute read

As 2019 draws to a close and a new year and a new decade are nearly upon us, we’re looking back at the year’s biggest AI innovations.

Companies have applied artificial intelligence and machine learning to everything from enhancing the customer experience to revolutionizing medicine.

Here’s a closer look at key innovations in AI that made a splash in 2019 and set the stage for future innovation in 2020 and beyond.

AI changes how we manage our money

AI innovations and machine learning have made significant leaps forward in the financial industry. According to a Deloitte report, “AI leaders In financial services: Common traits of frontrunners in the artificial intelligence race, AI tools are reshaping many aspects of financial services and the way we manage our money. Machine learning tools are empowering customer engagement, helping manage portfolios, scenario planning for institutions’ own long-term strategies, and operational improvements. According to the report, organizations that are dubbed “frontrunners” are seeing company-wide revenue growth of 19%, which can be attributed to AI innovations.

Reducing drug development time with machine learning

Creating drugs in today’s pharmaceutical landscape often takes years and costs billions of dollars. In 2019, a Hong Kong biotech startup called InSilico Medicine partnered with University of Toronto researchers to develop a drug that moved from concept to initial testing.

As Fortune notes, the potential impact that has on pre-clinical development and on the economics of healthcare could be staggering: “What’s eye-popping here is the timescale: just 46 days from molecular design to animal testing in mice. Considering that, on average, it takes more than a decade and costs $350 million to $2.7 billion to bring a new drug to market, depending on which study one believes, the potential impact on the pharmaceutical industry is huge.”

Algorithms mirror basic writing

The New Yorker recently asked whether AI could write for the publication, and in the article mentions the recently-released GPT-2 by Open.AI, an AI-powered tool that builds on deep training of a vast “neural net” to produce fairly realistic language abilities. Open.AI writes, “We’ve trained a large-scale unsupervised language model which generates coherent paragraphs of text, achieves state-of-the-art performance on many language modeling benchmarks, and performs rudimentary reading comprehension, machine translation, question answering, and summarization—all without task-specific training.” Similar technology is being used to create basic articles, such as sports reporting, and the capabilities continue to expand.

AI helps solve complex business challenges

AI innovations aren’t just helping complete routine tasks and manage predictive analytics. A new generation of tools eliminates bias from hiring—or takes important steps in that direction. They’re helping companies find solutions to the toughest challenges in business. Harver, a “pre-hire assessment software” organization, has been in development since 2015, but its impact grew this year; the company raised a significant B-round, reports VentureBeat, to further development—and clients include Fortune 500 companies. By automating pre-screening and using a range of assessments to find candidates that best fit company culture and role needs, AI-based solutions seek to eliminate bias from the screening stage. The Harvard Business Review notes, “AI can assess the entire pipeline of candidates rather than forcing time-constrained humans to implement biased processes to shrink the pipeline from the start.”

This past year saw AI innovations that allowed higher levels of personalization, productivity, and creativity. Heading into 2020 and the new decade beyond, AI tools and programs will continue to shape business and CX in important ways.

Want to compare with last year’s AI innovations? Check out “4 Key AI Innovations That Made a Splash in 2018“.

Liz Alton
Liz Alton
Liz Alton is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B technology, digital marketing, and the customer experience. Her clients include creative agencies, Fortune 500 brands, and venture-backed startups.
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