As we quickly settle into 2020, speculation and prediction about the growth of AI over the next decade is making headlines.

AI Front and Center at Consumer Electronics Show

It’s logical to think the annual Consumer Electronics Show might have jumpstarted the conversation.

A slew of AI-focused breakout sessions, the announcement of Samsung’s new Neon AI chatbot, and companies from Bosch and Audi to LG and Honda highlighting AI in their product line-ups all reinforced this technology’s dominant role at the conference. 

But the dialogue had been teed up long before techies made the trek to Las Vegas this week.

AI Adoption Predicted to Jump to 80% in Next 36 Months

In October, IBM – in conjunction with the National Retail Federation – projected that adoption of AI in the retail and consumer products industries would jump from 40 percent today to more than 80 percent in the next three years.

That same month, a Forrester Research survey found that 53 percent of global data and analytics decision makers are implementing, expanding or upgrading their implementation of some form of artificial intelligence, and that 30 percent have worked on AI/machine learning software in the past year.

Spending on AI Systems to Reach Nearly $80 Billion by 2020

The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted that spending on AI systems will more than double to $79.2 billion in 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 38 percent over the forecast period. Threat intelligence and prevention systems will see the most investment. The March 2019 report suggested spend for these use cases would reach $2.7 billion last year.

Financial Services Industry will Invest in AI Threat Detection and Fraud Analysis

IDC also confirmed IBM’s analysis of the importance of AI in retail, noting the industry would be the biggest investor.  Financial services would follow closely, spending $5.6 billion in 2019 for AI – including automated threat intelligence and prevention systems and fraud analysis and investigation systems.   Additionally, the federal government (44 percent CAGR) and education (43 percent CAGR) are among the sectors that will experience the fastest growth in spending through 2022.

Despite these robust predictions, experts also shared a cautionary tale as we move into the next decade.

Keeping Up with China: A Cautionary Tale

In December, The Atlantic Council released “A Candle in the Dark: U.S. National Security Strategy for Artificial Intelligence,” saying the country needs to better compete with China, better protect intellectual property related to AI, and take a holistic approach to protect national security and maintain global leadership.

The bi-partisan Congressional Artificial Intelligence Caucus also expressed concerns about how the federal government is approaching AI, noting a lack of coordination among agencies.

Federal Agencies Need Better Coordination

“We’re competing against foreign countries who want this technology and want to take the world over,” said Committee Co-Chair, Peter Olson, speaking on December 5th at the GovernmentCIO AI and RPA in Government conference.

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence echoed those sentiments.

National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence: More Funding Needed 

The group, commissioned by Congress, noted that China’s investments in AI outpace the U.S.’s and urged increased spending in research and training to create an AI-ready workforce and to use AI to enhance national security.  The interim report was released in November, and the final report is expected by the end of 2020.

AI Executive Order and Significant AI Budget Increase for FY 2020

The Federal Government is taking steps to address these warnings, preparing to invest about $4.9 billion in unclassified artificial intelligence research and development in fiscal year 2020.

And, a supplement to the President’s budget request included $1 billion in spending for nondefense AI research and development for fiscal year 2020 – a significant increase from 2016, when all agencies including defense spent a collective $1 billion. 

The increased AI-related budget supports an Executive Order from February 2019, which created the American AI Initiative. The Initiative will focus the resources of the Federal Government to develop AI in order to “increase our nation’s prosperity, enhance our national and economic security, and improve quality of life for the American people.”

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