AI to the Rescue: the COVID-19 Recovery

Lizzie Ottenstein

Even before the COVID-19 crisis struck and plunged the world into recession, people and businesses were adopting AI to take on all varieties of tasks. With most of the global workforce working from home, AI has become all the more important and will continue to affect and shape the way the world recovers. During past economic recessions, 14% of companies were able to increase sales by adopting digital solutions. 

 

Consumer behavior 

It’s no surprise consumers are turning online, a behavior that began long before the pandemic. Consumers are operating nearly entirely online, indeed, they have no other choice. Under lockdown, today’s consumers are choosing reduced contact means of getting goods and services. This is especially true for younger and higher-income consumers. In today’s digitized world, one can order food, take classes, and work all without leaving home. This trend is unlikely to disappear once the crisis is over. 

 

Automate repetitive tasks so people can focus on creative tasks

Businesses now are taking advantage of this unique time to capitalize on the online market and consumers’ willingness to to partake in it and this will set the tone for how businesses function in the post-COVID-19 market. Leveraging AI, now and always, provides competitive advantage as it has the power to automate repetitive and time consuming tasks previously only done by humans. With AI, humans can better spend their time on more demanding and dynamic tasks and channel their creativity where it’s most needed. 

 

Boost supply chain efficiency and reduce need for human interaction

So what exactly is the benefit of adopting AI and why will it help businesses recover post COVID-19? Data is only helpful if it can be processed at scale. Al makes this possible. Today’s supply chains have reached a level of complexity that require machines to process and track all of the information. Leveraging data will help minimize the need for unnecessary human to human interaction. 

 

Enhancing manufacturing 

This level of data processing is especially helpful in the manufacturing and food industries. In manufacturing, data can be used in predictive maintenance which saves time and money, increases value, boost quality control with computer vision, and reduces error. AI will enable factories to operate 24/7 from more locations and with little extra cost. 

 

Boosting efficiency in the food industry

AI also helps save time in the food industry by predicting trends, preferences, and planning delivery routes. Not only this, it helps forecast demands and strengthens relationships with customers through engaging chatbots. These assets have been especially useful during COVID-19 lockdown when people have relied on online ways of getting food.

 

Enhance decision making, insights, and fraud detection 

Leveraging AI and data will also help companies’ decision making capabilities in both private and public organizations. Companies may start to rely entirely on AI to make decisions on behalf of humans or may be leveraged to provide a way for companies to trace decision making back to humans. AI can also generate insights based on patterns and trends. The processing of large quantities of data will also help boost security and detect anomalous behavior and fraud early on. 

 

Unprecedented personalization, customer engagement, and loyalty

AI helps companies understand and engage with their customers on unprecedented levels. AI makes this possible, opening doors for companies to understand their customers’ behavior (segmenting by demographics and purchasing patterns) and make better recommendations to them, ultimately fostering increased customer loyalty. This type of advanced data analytics and machine learning allows companies to personalize their services in ways unthinkable before AI. A better understanding of customers allows companies to brand and market themselves in more effective and relevant ways. 

 

Successful remote working

Companies already powered by AI will have a better time transitioning to remote working environments and will create more opportunities for on demand labor. These companies are also better able to simulate normal work environments as their platforms are already AI enabled. Businesses across the globe may realize these advantages, adopting AI and increasing their remote workforce in the future. These companies will be better poised to continue remote working if they need to and maintain clear and consistent communication over space and time. 

 

Holistic financial sector 

AI will also enhance the financial sector. With greater security, online payments and spending will help us interact with the digital economy on a daily basis. Financial institutions will become more than banks to their customers and will embrace more holistic solutions and services helping them ensure transparency and assurance to customers.  

 

Providing better healthcare services

A most relevant field that will certainly embrace AI is healthcare. AI has been leveraged in a multitude of ways during the pandemic, from scanning lung X-rays and predicting diagnosis by evaluating worsening symptoms. This is surely only the beginning. AI may help forecast future epidemics and help patients self-diagnose. It will also enable biometrics. By processing large amounts of medical data, AI will help healthcare organizations build and compare statistical epidemiological models. Already we’re seeing hospitals forgoing inefficient procedures to aid their frontline workers.

 

The effects of COVID-19 on business and society will be large and long lasting, ultimately contributing to a more resilient and dynamic way of life. With its power to leverage data in unprecedented and powerful ways, AI promises to not only transform business but also help businesses recover from COVID-19. AI has come to the rescue, but it’s up to us to heed its call. 

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