As we saw in my last post, the traditional source of growth in developed economies—capital and labor investments—appears to be losing its efficacy. Macroeconomic indicators like GDP growth rate and marginal capital efficiency are mired in decades-long declines, casting doubt on the viability of the future of growth.

Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to rewrite the rules of growth in developed economies.

This is driven by advances in machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, and other areas of computing, along with relentlessly cheaper processing power and the big data explosion.

Accenture analysis shows that AI’s impact on developed economies could be tremendous. In the United States alone, AI could add $8.3 trillion to Gross Value Added (GVA, which closely approximates GDP) by 2035.

Why Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Growth
Source: Why Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Growth, Accenture, 2016.

 

Accenture has identified three important channels of AI-led growth. In this post I’m going to look at the impact AI can have by creating a new virtual workforce, which we’ll call “intelligent automation.”

Businesses have sought to automate processes throughout history. What separates intelligent automation from these earlier efforts is the capacity to learn and adapt without additional input from humans. Intelligent automation systems can teach themselves, which means their value over time will increase, unlike traditional investments in automation.

Consider support request management, a labor-intensive field for many financial services firms. Whereas traditional robotic automation can automate tasks where the process is fixed and repeatable, it falters in areas where decisions need to be made based on unstructured data inputs. This has made automating customer support through email or ticket management systems impossible.

But not for long.

New AI systems can “read” and understand the intent of customer service requests and automate processing.1 Thus, intelligent automation can improve employee and customer satisfaction, ultimately driving corporate performance and economic growth.

IA’s financial services applications are numerous. Some forward-looking firms are already realizing benefits.

For instance, “Amelia®” is an AI platform developed by IPsoft Inc., the IT automation specialist.2 Amelia®’s natural language processing and machine learning capabilities let it quickly “read” and absorb huge amounts of information. Amelia can then provide comprehensive and authoritative technical support to remote workers.3

It can also learn from its interactions. In one instance, Amelia® generated the answers to the 120 questions most frequently asked by the mortgage brokers it was supporting. Amelia has already been used in banks to handle financial queries, traditionally a labor-intensive task.4

Amelia®’s self-teaching capabilities are another important aspect of the potential of IA to drive economic growth. When Amelia® encounters a question it can’t answer, the AI hands it over to a human. The human’s answer to the question that stumped Amelia® is then incorporated into the system. Just like a conscientious employee, Amelia® recognizes gaps in its knowledge and closes them over time.5 In contrast with older IA assets, self-learning IA systems grow in value over time as they learn the solutions to more and more problems.

The self-learning capability of Amelia® and systems like it make IA much more scalable than older automation tools. Banks can identify a potential use of automation, test it, and then deploy it across global operations faster than ever. Applications like this illustrate why AI holds so much potential to drive growth at both banks and the global economy.

IA is great for freeing up labor and capital for more efficient application elsewhere. But AI can do much more than replace labor and capital—it can enhance both in new and exciting ways. Come back next week for a look at how AI can unlock value by facilitating the more effective use of labor and capital—or read more Accenture analysis of AI’s power by heading here.

 

References

  1. “Why Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Growth,” Accenture, 2016. Access at: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-artificial-intelligence-future-growth
  2. IPSoft Inc., home page. Access at: http://www.ipsoft.com/
  3. Finders, K., “IPsoft gives automation platform a face,” September 30, 2014. [Accessed 29 June 2016].
  4. IPsoft, “Amelia: Mortgage Broker Agent at a Global Bank,” 2016. [Accessed 29 June 2016].
  5. Finders, K., “IPsoft gives automation platform a face,” September 30, 2014. [Accessed 29 June 2016].

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