Artificial intelligence (AI) is already having a major positive impact on society and many sectors of the economy, according to a new report from the Center for Data Innovation, an affiliate of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Yet the benefits are vastly underappreciated by policymakers and the public.
To highlight the overwhelmingly positive impact of AI, the Center, a think tank that focuses on data policy, catalogued 70 real-world examples of how the technology is already generating social and economic benefits around the globe.
“Artificial intelligence is increasingly being put to use in virtually every sector of the economy, from farming to education,” said Daniel Castro, the Center’s director and the report’s co-author. “Unfortunately, most people are still more likely to associate AI with Hollywood movies like The Terminator than with how it is currently being used to help authorities crack down on human trafficking, streamline drug discovery, improve supply chains, and a great deal more. This needs to change if the United States wants to stay on the cutting edge of AI. How can policymakers support AI if they do not even know what it is, or worse, believe it is threat?”
The new report, titled The Promise of Artificial Intelligence, illustrates 70 examples of AI innovations producing benefits in 14 areas: the environment, agriculture, energy, public safety, transportation, health care (including the areas of prevention and screening, and treatment and monitoring), accessibility, consumer convenience, disaster prevention and response, social good, industrial operations, business operations, and education.
The examples include how AI is stopping deforestation before it starts, forecasting crop yields from space, teaching a data center to make itself more efficient, autonomously disposing of car bombs, automating a microscope to diagnose malaria, making it easier to get around in a wheelchair, giving students feedback in real time, and making customer support multilingual.
“This list only scratches the surface of the many ways AI is generating substantial social and economic value, and transforming everyday life for the better,” said Castro. “It is important for policymakers to not just reject the doom and gloom vision of AI that could slow progress, but also to actively spur further AI innovation by encouraging adoption and deployment. Given the immense benefits that AI is already offering society—and its huge potential to do even more—it would be a serious mistake to take the foot off of the accelerator.”