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This article was published on November 9, 2020

Neural’s market outlook for artificial intelligence in 2021 and beyond

Spoiler alert: It's all good

Neural’s market outlook for artificial intelligence in 2021 and beyond
Tristan Greene
Story by

Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him

The year is coming to a close and it’s safe to say Elon Musk’s prediction that his company would field one million “robotaxis” by the end of 2020 isn’t going to come true. In fact, so far, Tesla’s managed to produce exactly zero self-driving vehicles. And we can probably call off the singularity too. GPT-3 has been impressive, but the closer machines get to aping human language the easier it is to see just how far away from us they really are.

So where does that leave us, ultimately, when it comes to the future of AI? That depends on your outlook. Media hype and big tech’s advertising machine has set us up for heartbreak when we compare the reality in 2020 to our 2016-era dreams of fully autonomous flying cars and hyper-personalized digital assistants capable of managing the workload of our lives.

But, if you’re gauging the future of AI from a strictly financial, marketplace point of view, there’s an entirely different outlook to consider. American rock band Timbuk 3 put it best when they sang “the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

Artificial intelligence has been a world-beater for the past five years when it comes to market growth and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. The simple explanation for this is that VCs and public investors don’t necessarily care about the big newsworthy AI technologies as much as they do the ones they can profit from. And there are a lot of profits to be made in the overall AI market over the next few years according to most market analysis reports.

B2B technologies, such as call center AI, are steadily rising. According to a market report from Research and Markets:

In 2018, the global call center artificial intelligence (AI) market reached a value of $914.5 million and is expected to generate $2,990.1 million in 2024, witnessing a 22.6% CAGR during the forecast period (2019-2024).

We’re seeing similar growth in relevant, related industries across the machine learning spectrum when it comes to narrow-case B2B technologies. Here’s a quote from a Market Watch report on image recognition technology:

Global AI image recognition market will reach $8,898.2 million by 2026, growing by 26.9% annually over 2020-2026 owing to the rising need for AI-enabled image recognition technology amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, as far as the global market size for all AI technologies is concerned, Allied Market Research makes the following prediction:

The global artificial intelligence market size is expected to reach $169,411.8 million in 2025, from $4,065.0 million in 2016 growing.

That’s a massive gain in such a short period, when compared to similar tech markets, and a healthy indication that the AI gravy train is still steaming along the tracks nicely – for those savvy enough to invest in the tried-and-true B2B AI technologies, that is.

As always the biggest players in the AI market – Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – are major driving factors for such lofty market predictions, but they also remain solid bets for AI investment purposes according to market trends going as far back as 2016.

Quick take: Get your investment advice from professionals you trust, not technology journalists. That being said, everything we can find in the end of 2020 market predictions for next year points to a predictable, universal uptick in AI adoption.

As the pandemic forces businesses to invest in AI data technologies to understand an unprecedented consumer marketplace, it’s also reinventing the employee-based technology paradigm through the necessitation of AI-powered remote-working software.

We may yet be years or even decades away from truly autonomous vehicles (no matter what Musk tries to tell you), but the market can’t get enough bedrock AI technology. That’s unlikely to change in 2021 or the foreseeable future beyond next year.

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