Artificial intelligence is being described as the third great revolution in business, following the Industrial Revolution and the Information Revolution. And if some industry observers are correct, it will have a transformative effect on consumers, business and government markets around the world.

According to the report “Bot.Me: A revolutionary partnership: How AI is pushing man and machine closer together” from PwC, “AI has the potential to become the great equalizer. Access to services that were traditionally reserved for a privileged few can be extended to the masses.”

The impact of that on business cannot be understated, as AI has the potential to open up huge new markets or expand on existing markets. That means organizations that embrace AI will have distinct competitive advantage, the study notes.

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“As humans, there’s a lot we’re not good at,” says AI developer Kaza Razat, quoted in the PwC study. “When we’re making machines that are better at certain things than we are, it’s still an extension of us. From an evolution standpoint, there are places where we’ve reached the end of our capacity.”

Still, artificial intelligence is only as good as the data it uses the study stresses. That places greater emphasis on issues related to data quality and data governance.

Where artificial intelligence is expected to have especially dramatic impact is in areas around cybersecurity, privacy, cancer research and the treatment of other diseases, the study says.

“With the enormous amount of DNA data being recorded today, AI could revolutionize personalized healthcare by analyzing that data; wearables and ingestibles could monitor and correct human behavior to maximize life expectancy and enhance wellbeing. We’re already seen AI successfully identify autism in babies with 81 percent accuracy, and skin cancer with 91 percent accuracy.”

The study polled nearly 2,500 consumers and business leaders on where they thought AI will have the most immediate impact. Their responses:

• 68 percent said cybersecurity and privacy

• 66 percent said treating cancer and other diseases

• 62 percent said clean energy

• 61 percent said personal financial security and fraud protection

• 58 percent said global education

• 56 percent said global health and well-being

• 56 percent said economic growth

• 50 percent said climate change

• 38 percent said income inequality

• 31 percent said gender inequality

More than 40 percent of consumers “believe AI will expand access to financial, medical, legal and transportation services to those with lower incomes,” the study says.

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