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Artificial Intelligence

AI Opportunities Abound, If You Know the Unexpected Places to Look

Currently, much of the work in AI is focused on direct consumer services or manufacturing, warehousing and fulfillment, but its potential applications go well beyond this narrow view.
AI Opportunities Abound, If You Know the Unexpected Places to Look
Image credit: Ekkasit919 | Getty Images
Guest Writer
CEO of Integrity Marketing & Consulting
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Almost 90 percent of Americans currently use at least one device, program or service that features an artificial intelligence (AI) component, according to a recent Gallup poll. AI is also viewed as a way to enhance productivity and efficiencies in a variety of business settings; that's why most current work in AI is focused on direct consumer services or manufacturing, warehousing and fulfillment.

Related: 5 Ways in Which Digital and Artificial Intelligence are Changing Work Dynamics

Yet AI's its potential applications go well beyond this narrow view. Nearly every industry, in fact, could benefit from utilizing AI, and those possibilities have barely been realized. This untapped potential creates the following wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs, especially those willing to travel unexpected paths.

Health care

The use of AI in healthcare has practical applications that range from anticipating health needs to delivering preventive or medical care with unprecedented precision. Only a few companies have effectively incorporated AI into their systems, with amazing results. Surgical robotics systems, such as those designed by Intuitive, are becoming more responsive, with expanded capabilities to support minimally invasive treatments for a broader range of needs.  

AI is also being applied to medical research. For example, Anixa Biosciences is utilizing artificial intelligence to fight the war against cancer. This company has developed a simple blood test that successfully identifies the presence of cancer with a 90 percent accuracy rate using an AI component. AI also plays a key role in Anixa's clinical trials, providing objective results and identifying subtle anomalies that might otherwise be missed.

What entrepreneurs should know: From research to diagnosis and treatment, the AI applications in healthcare have barely scratched the surface, leaving a wide field for entrepreneurs to enter.

Music and media

The song Not Easy by Alex Da Kid owes its origins to various AI processes. The musician used big data to determine the theme for the song, and IBM Watson Beat to select the musical elements that informed and inspired the hit tune. This was just the beginning. Content across other media forms will also be identified and shaped by AI, for categories ranging from films, television, and virtual reality to gaming systems.

Related: AI Is Transforming Healthcare as We Know It. Here's a Look at the Future -- and the Opportunities for Entrepreneurs.

What entrepreneurs should know: There is a need to create programs that can analyze the massive amounts of data available to create actionable information and develop the next blockbuster film or the next song that turns up on everyone’s playlist. This burgeoning application of AI has potential that is truly unmeasurable.

Cyber security

False positives are the biggest problem with today’s cybersecurity programs. According to the Ponemon Institute, responding to false malware alerts costs U.S. companies $1.27 million each year in the man-hours needed to chase down these errors. What's more, being inundated with false positives means most companies investigate only a fraction of them. This allows true threats to slip into their systems undetected.

Innovative businesses, including Packetsled, utilize AI in their data security systems to eliminate this problem, saving clients time and money. Over time, this AI component learns and becomes effective at distinguishing a real threat from false ones. Another company, Darktrace, uses AI to identify threats that exist but don’t trigger a cybersecurity alert, adding another level of protection.

What entrepreneurs need to know: Unfortunately, cyber-thieves have applied AI themselves: They've used it to launch effective attacks against targeted systems, resulting in a kind of AI cyber arms race. There is a need (and a demand) for products that can win this battle and protect data and other corporate secrets, creating huge opportunities for the right entrepreneurs.

Supply chain management

Supply chain management is the cornerstone of most of industries; and many supply chains are global, resulting in significant logistical challenges. A study by McKinsey determined that an AI-enhanced supply chain management system could reduce transportation-related costs by 5 percent to 10 percent and warehousing and supply costs by 25 percent to 40 percent. These numbers translate into significant savings.

Companies such as QiO deliver AI-enhanced specialized supply chain management which does much more than just managing each component. Its system also predicts maintenance needs and potential shortages, allowing companies to address problems before they occur.

What entrepreneurs need to know: People tend to forget that every link in a supply chain has its own supply chain. Developing a management system that recognizes this fact could incorporate alternate suppliers or monitor pricing in a way that could continually find the lowest-cost components, to take these systems to the next level. These opportunities provide interesting challenges for the right entrepreneurs.

Legal support

While legal professionals are needed to interpret the law and represent clients, one of their biggest expenses involves the staff hours required to review documents. Large corporations often struggle to manage multiple contracts, especially those that are updated and changed over time. AI programs, including Contract Intelligence, reduce these expenses by automating this process.

There are also legal AI systems for non-professionals. Apps such as DoNotPay and Sue Anyone apply AI to appeal parking tickets and manage divorces but they aren’t as user-friendly or accurate as consumers would like.

What entrepreneurs need to know: Several good AI systems have been developed for the legal industry but there is a demand for additional applications and better programs.

Related: 4 Lesser-Known Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Business Today

The bottom line

AI can do so much more than help you order a pizza or run robotic factory workers. This technology stands on the cusp, ready to improve nearly every industry; and it offers a myriad of opportunities for entrepreneurs able to imagine and execute new applications for the future.

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