The Top 3 Industries AI Will Disrupt in 2018

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When it comes to artificial intelligence, we most often hear about the flashiest of consumer applications – such as robots or autonomous driving vehicles. But AI also has the potential to deliver practical benefits for businesses, including driving higher profit margins, improving performance rates, enhancing the customer experience, and more. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that businesses are investing big in the technology; according to McKinsey, companies invested $26B to $39B in AI in 2016.

As AI continues to mature, there are many new and exciting ways companies across all industries can implement the technology. But I believe that there are three specific industries — legal, hospitality, and real estate — that will see the most impactful change through AI in the year ahead.

The legal industry is often siloed, with its complicated and manual process for handling hundreds of legal complaints a day. For example, law firms and legal offices often spend hours sifting through legal contracts, scanning for errors, categorizing them, and drafting responses during the early stages of litigation. Through AI, litigators can access platforms that automatically and accurately analyze inquiries and produce draft responses in minutes, freeing up time for lawyers and enhancing work efficiency.

One example of how AI is disrupting the legal industry is LegalMation’s AI platform, which is powered by IBM Watson. Launched in June 2017, LegalMation generates all the imperative draft litigation work in about two minutes. The result? It saves 10 or more hours of time for each case, facilitating greater cost predictability, improved accuracy and freeing up attorney time for more substantive work. These new products that drive measurable results will help the legal industry see the true benefits of incorporating AI.

Another sector that is driving positive business results from artificial intelligence is the hospitality industry. As more guests demand an always-on and personalized concierge service, hotels are activating chatbots to create “digital butlers” that can help with any request in a timely manner, whether it’s at 5pm or 3am. However, chatbots are only effective when they feel “human,” and that’s where AI comes in. By remembering and processing tons of information that ranges from the nearest restaurant recommendations to tomorrow’s weather, AI can help developers create bots that cater to each guest’s preferences. Also, bots allow guests to engage with the hotel from any location through their mobile devices, thus providing a more accessible service. Leading hotels like Marriott International and Cosmopolitan Las Vegas have already begun implementing bot concierge services, and there will be more hotels jumping on the bandwagon in 2018.

Lastly, the real estate industry will transition to more AI-based services and products in several ways. More than ever, potential home buyers are doing their own research by browsing real estate properties online and comparing prices and amenities before reaching out to an agent. By activating AI-powered search engines, real estate companies can lead consumers in the right direction by helping them find the exact property they are looking for. On the other hand, for sellers, they no longer have to rely on one agent’s quote when determining their property’s market price. Instead, sellers can use AI-powered search engines to get a better understanding of the average property prices in their region, so that they can get the best price during the negotiation process.

While legal, hospitality, and real estate industries are starting to gain positive impact through AI, many others are discovering new ways to harness the power of AI. And, as more companies invest their time and resources to it, AI will evolve into an even stronger tool for all types of businesses.

About the Author

Neil Sahota is an IBM Master Inventor and World Wide Business Development Leader in the IBM Watson Group. He has over 15 years of business experience and his role helps clients and business partners create next-generation products and solutions powered by IBM Watson. Neil has worked across a variety of industries, including healthcare, life sciences, retail, travel and transportation, energy and utilities, automotive, telecommunications, media/communication, and government – so he is well-versed on which industries are already using AI and which are poised to be impacted the most by technology in 2018.


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  1. Frank van Zanten says

    AI is also disrupting healthcare. Note that McKinsey noted this too in their famous New Frontier report a number of years back. But actually, we already knew that this was coming 25 years ago. The AI used at that time already outperformed routine anamnesis taken by doctors. Now that AI can interpret both speech, text and (medical) images and learn very fast, healthcare will change beyond what many think will be possible.