Artificial Intelligence and the post-COVID-19 World

Back in 2002, the SARS outbreak caused an unprecedented demand for online shopping, which concomitantly brought e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to the forefront. The Great Recession of 2008 directed brands such as Starbucks and American Express to opt into digital operating models that not only helped them thrive through the crisis but gain greater shareholder value as well!

On similar grounds, the COVID-19 pandemic is now dramatically altering consumer behavior on a global scale. Individuals who preferred to buy their supplies in person are now going for cashless order payments thanks to fintech platforms. Students are pursuing their studies through virtual classrooms and ed-tech applications. Employees are staying connected with their teams through messaging and video conferencing applications. The list goes on. And although such instances aren’t new stories, the mere magnitude to which they are being practiced simply cannot be ignored.

Tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Alibaba are already leading the way with their extensive experience in digital automation and data analytics and inspiring entrepreneurs across the world. While implementation is the easier nut to crack, the challenge is to ensure scalability. Once that is dealt with, navigating and adjusting to uncertain supply and demand, allocating workforce, and adapting to changes in consumer priorities will be half the concern it is at present.

Source: CB Insights

Dealing with the ongoing crisis

As factories are reopening across the globe, reality is hitting hard: the entire supply chain logistics is facing a shortage of migrant workers, social distancing is being strictly induced to avoid a second wave of virus, not to mention an increased concern for health at workplaces. Under such circumstances, automation comes off as a major solution, although it may lead to possible reallocation and reskilling of human resources. To keep up with the ever-changing demand patterns, product and service providers have to embrace the pros of cutting-edge technology.

E-commerce brands like Amazon are ramping up fulfillment capacities to maintain their vast customer base. Movies are now being launched digitally on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime since multiplexes are shut down. Closure of gymnasiums has lead fitness brand CureFit to provide extensive digital experiences across fitness, nutrition, and mental health. Walmart launched its very own touch-free payment system Walmart Pay to alleviate the spread of the virus when customers shop in-store. Such processes automation also improves the efficiency of finance processes like procure-to-pay and order-to-cash, which in turn reduces the risk of non-compliance.

Innovating healthcare

Integrating AI from research to implementation

Demand-supply dynamics

Remote working

Remote connections are the new normal


But, it is equally important to avoid a “zero-human” mindset. Why? Because humans can ensure that no operating area is left unchecked. Even the most autonomous of applications need human intervention to reach the level of context and expertise that AI alone cannot achieve.

To prevent inferior judgment and unnecessary bias, AI should be augmented through the perspective of human imagination and interpretation. Organizations should encourage their employees to learn more about implementing AI in design algorithms, integration processes, and judiciously monitor their outputs. A truly effective AI-system contributes to strategic decision-making only after taking second-order connotations into account.

Originally published on Coditas Blog

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