Artificial Intelligence has been consistently one of the hottest topics year-round since the last decade. And there doesn’t seem to be any sign of that changing anytime soon. Keeping that in mind, we have compiled a list of the TOP-10 stories that have been the talk of the town of 2021. So without further ado, here is the first one.

  1. Automated AI development
  2. AI in biochemical research
  3. AI will become less data-hungry
  4. AI will make healthcare more accurate
  5. More attention towards explainability
  6. AI in manufacturing
  7. AI will have far-reaching geopolitical implication
  8. AI in entertainment and education
  9. AI in cybersecurity
  10. AI will recognize us
  11. There’s more
  12. What’s Next

Artificial Intelligence Stories

1. Automated AI development

Automating AI has been growing in popularity for the last few years. It has witnessed some serious amount of research interest recently. Some good examples would be the AutoML from Google or AutoAI from IBM. The first one is designed for simplifying the creation and curation of inference models. AutoAI, on the other hand, is a platform that helps in data preparation, feature engineering, and hyperparameter optimization.

The evolution of neuro-symbolic AI is also another important aspect. The neuro-symbolic AI is one of those fields that combine a data-driven approach and the knowledge-based approach. Neurosymbolic Concept Learner (NSCL) is a tool collaboratively developed by IBM and MIT that can solve problems involving large data requirements and a lack of explainability.

2. AI in biochemical research

The drug development process is a costly affair, both in terms of the invested time and money. Developing even a single component can take the collective effort of hundreds of researchers. One of the most interesting applications of modern AI is in drug discovery. Researchers expect that state-of-the-art AI algorithms can be used to speed up this whole procedure. Cell counting, for example, is an active field of research in biology. Visual AI systems and Computer Vision can help perform it in seconds with unimaginable accuracy.

3. AI will become less data-hungry

Creating a good dataset is costly (good being the keyword here). Large organizations like Facebook or Google spend millions, if not billions, on creating and collecting the data. It is expected that we will see an increase in the data synthesis methodologies to battle the adversity caused by the data-hungry models. Current methodologies including most of the neural network and deep learning-based techniques are super data-hungry, i.e they need an enormous amount of data to work accurately.

Using less data-efficient models results in costing more money. Most of the small or medium-scale businesses cannot afford to allocate that much monetary resource behind the data only. So it’s important we have fewer data-hungry techniques.

Thanks to the recent advancements in these fields, many areas of the research can now generate their own training data. Methodologies like Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) help reduce the need for a huge amount of data with the help of artificial data synthesis.

4. AI will make healthcare more accurate

AI is going to change the overall workflow of the healthcare sector for good in 2021. The patients, as well as the healthcare professionals, are going to be benefitted from the efficient implementation of AI-based techniques. It’s going to acquire real-time data from multiple hospitals and health centers and utilize it for the benefit of both parties.

Automatic initialization of equipment, automated reporting, and optimized scheduling – everything would be done to customize to an individual patient’s condition. Combining AI with expert clinical and domain knowledge will result in speeding up the clinical procedure.

5. More attention towards explainability

The current year is going to be all about AI’s explainability. The previous year has been the year of early principles for AI ethics and risk management. The concept of explainability is one of the hottest and well-known topics these days. It aims to go towards the root of the problem and explain the reasons behind AI-based decisions.

Explainability plays a big role in many subfields of AI. Machine learning and data science rely a great deal on the explainability of the model being used. In the case of many hard-to-understand (read explain) models, it becomes nearly impossible to tell when bias or some error creeps into the data.

There has been a growing interest in making AI more ethical in the last few years. The European Commission took matters even further and published a set of seven guidelines for developing ethical AI.

6. AI in manufacturing

This year is going to be the year when the manufacturing industry would seriously consider embracing the powers of AI. By far, quality control is one of the toughest and most critical tasks in the whole workflow. Due to the nature of the task, traditionally quality control has mostly been a manual task. Practically speaking, automating quality control is not at all an easy task (even more so, if you are trying to deal with it without the help of Computer Vision). Many industries such as FMCG or Automobile use AI-powered tools for automating the quality control procedure.

That being said, it is not going to be a replacement for human resources. AI is going to ease out the life of the product managers who almost put their life on the line to ensure quality. Making AI a part of the workflow not only helps modernize the whole production line but also to augment the existing processes and address the earlier challenge.

7. AI will have far-reaching geopolitical implications

According to many subject matter experts, AI will keep being a top-priority concern of a nation regarding its military and economic security. Many governments have invested millions, if not billions, in conjuring the power of AI as a possible next competitive front.

The development of military AI is escalating at lightning speed. In 2018, the US government decided to allocate $2 billion for the next 5 years to be spent through DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The aim of DARPA is to forge the next generation of AI-based technologies. ATLAS, a program dedicated to advanced targeting systems for autonomous target tracking.

China, for example, has invested $100+ billion behind AI alone showing their level of seriousness and confidence. The European countries including UK, France, and many others have joined the race and put more than a quarter of a billion.

Russian Federation, following its tradition of secrecy and confidentiality, has not yet disclosed any such plans. Although it would be foolish to think that they would not be using these technological advancements to their advantage like others. According to a report disclosed in 2019, they were working on an autonomous drone technology that can do the job without any major human intervention.


8. AI in entertainment and education

Some places are still a no-go for the AI – think about music or poetry generation, or even storytelling. The existing algorithms have proven to be not “intelligent” enough even with state-of-the-art techniques. We are expected to see quite a bit of development in these fields in 2021. Artificial Intelligence, in general, has proven not to be very effective and/or efficient at performing stuff that needs a lot of prior experience.

Moreover, the overall influence of AI in the entertainment industry is expected to rise in 2021. Last year we saw the prowess of AI in ‘The Irishman’ where AI was utilized to generate visual effects and trickery. It goes without saying that we will be seeing more of those. AI is expected to be actively used in the education sector as well where it might be used for fast-tracking and enhancing the learning process.

9. AI in cybersecurity

Dealing with cyber threats has already become a major headache for businesses. Starting from online payments to email newsletters, many aspects of modern businesses rely on having a rock-solid cybersecurity scheme. According to a not-so-recent survey, more than 60% of online businesses have faced various types of cyberattacks in 2018.

The presence of AI in cybersecurity is going to rise as events like phishing, hacking, and social engineering attacks become more and more common. Prediction algorithms and smart technology are going to play an important role in protecting us from fraudsters.

AI can be used to spot any telltale sign and aware of any fraudulent attempt or digital activity that might harm us. The rollout of new technologies like 5G opens up a new horizon for AI as it brings huge opportunities for businesses.

10. AI will recognize us (even though we might not recognize them)

Facilities like automatic facial recognition are going to be intensified over the years. In the near future, many of the essential services are going to be automated with the help of AI. China has already started preparations for making the facial recognition process mandatory for accessing services like public transportation.

Organizations and governments, like it or not, around the world are investing millions to keep track of our identity and actions. And governments and private organizations are going to use these data for making automated agents more intelligent and powerful.

There’s more….

Even though the article focuses on the top 10, we simply cannot ignore other excellent AI stories that have a great impact on our society. To give them a better understanding of the true capabilities of AI, let’s quickly look at some of the more exciting stories out there.

  • From the onset, leaders are focusing on optimizing their business processes. With the onset of different new technologies, it is obvious that leaders are looking at AI. They are now using AI to make business processes more optimal. The goal is to improve business process management(BPM).
    Gartner – a leading research group has already identified different ways in which machine learning(ML) and artificial intelligence can improve process automation.
  • Microsoft is one of the leading tech companies that are heavily invested in artificial intelligence. They are helping other companies to improve AI quality performance and avoid problems.
  • AI in chatbots is the next big thing. Current generation chatbots are already using AI to their full potential. However, there is still a lot of improvement left in making them more human-like. Smart agents are AI-powered chatbots that are going to change how companies handle customers. The end goal is to improve customer experience and make it seamless in every possible way.
  • AI robots can also help in pandemic situations. Right now, there is a high demand for robots who can reduce the risk by taking up tasks such as disinfecting or delivering supplies to people in need. One such example is robots that are equipped with concentrated UV light which can kill germs in the vicinity.
  • Smart cities are going to change how we live. But, what about AI cities? One Chinese company, Terminus group, is working on a new design where the city will be powered by AI. It will also be called AI CITY.

What’s Next?

Artificial Intelligence’s impact is way more than what we read here. These ten stories tell us what we can expect from artificial intelligence in the future. There are way more inspiring stories that you can hear about AI every single day. However, AI is not always appreciated in the era of growth. Many people think that AI will replace them. In reality, it will surely replace some jobs, but most of the jobs are safe. The key here is to repurpose people skills so that they can adapt to the changing times.