AI trends for 2021 that will grow businesses and create jobs

Eligible entrepreneurs in Western Sydney will have a chance to enrol in the ‘SydWest Global Connections Tech Start-up’ accelerator programme for free, early next year.

By U2B Staff 

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It goes without saying that 2020 will go down in the books as one of the most transformative years in recent history. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted the way people work, interact, and ultimately live their lives as members of society. While the long-term effects are unknown, it is clear that remote work due to social distancing has become a norm, creating more space for innovation within the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic in 2020 as a technology that has found its way into everything from advanced quantum computing systems, leading-edge medical diagnostic systems to consumer electronics and “smart” personal assistants. 

According to market researcher IDC, revenue generated by AI’s hardware, software, and services is expected to reach US$156.5 billion worldwide this year, up by 12.3% from 2019. 

Not only has AI played a massive role in structuring the new normal, but it has also paved the way for new technologies expected to prevent such outbreaks in the future. As a result, new jobs will be on the horizon from AI innovation. We may not be able to predict the future just yet with these new technologies but one thing is for certain: it will be AI directed. 

According to Forbes, chipmakers like NVIDIA, Intel, and Qualcomm are rapidly developing AI into their systems, translating to greater democratisation of AI that developers can apply to data and applications. 

These applications have been notable with cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, and IBM, who have been embedding and expanding their AI offerings for public and hybrid cloud deployments. Aberdeen Research states that 43% of businesses today are leveraging some form of AI.

To thrive in the field, it is necessary for AI aspirants and existing professionals to stay up to date with trends in order to thrive with job opportunities. The first published World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) report tracked the development of technologies through the analysis of data on innovation activities. 


The WIPO report highlighted AI innovation patenting trends, the prominent players from industry and academia, and the geographical distribution of AI-related patent protection and scientific publications. The report was published in 2019 but remains relevant to this day in the matters of AI trends. 

Here are a few of the AI trends expected to take charge in 2021, shaping lives, innovating new ways for businesses to operate, and advancing civilisation in ways unexpected:

Ethical AI

According to Forrester, over the next few years, firms will deliberately choose to do business with partners that commit to data ethics and adopt data handling practices that reflect their own values and their customers’ values. 

In the past, firms that adopted machine learning and AI technologies paid little attention to their ethical impact but today, values-based consumers and employers expect companies to adopt these technologies in a responsible fashion. 

AI-driven automation

Due to the pandemic, organisations are changing automation agendas rapidly toward back-office processes and business resilience. 

Intelligent automation will represent the infusion of robotic and digital process automation with pragmatic AI and low-code tools, technologies that will help businesses become more efficient and resilient as they expand operations.

AI chatbots for better customer support

The findings of a Juniper Research report predicts that e-commerce transactions via chatbots will grow up to US$112 billion by 2023. Many organisations are using AI-powered chatbots for business communication, and primarily for customer support and sales. Chatbots are now known to increase customer engagement, assist in collecting data, and drive business revenues. 

Chatbots decrease the need for human intervention and enable businesses to interact with their customers during non-working hours. At the same time, it also decreases the need for floor space and saves cost in conventional customer support equipment. 

Chips to boost performance

AI-powered chips are predicted to reach a revenue of slightly over US$91 billion by 2025. These chips enable applications that run on algorithms like object detection, computer vision, facial recognition, and Natural Language Processing to perform much faster. 

AI-powered chips boost the performance of applications used in gaming, healthcare, banking and finance and manufacturing industries. Some good examples are the newly launched AI-enabled Snapdragon 732G by Qualcomm which enhances the high-tier mobile gaming experience and the BMW factory in Germany which uses AI-based software to check auto parts and perform complete inspections in milliseconds. 

Data for startup sustainability

ICD predicts that worldwide spending on AI systems will reach nearly US$98 billion by 2023. In today’s digitally driven world, data is the new currency. For startups to stay ahead in the competitive business world, it has become imperative for these growing companies to adopt advanced analytics and AI to create dynamic business models.  

These systems can assist companies with their ability to create solutions for data mining, business data analysis, and the implementation of predictive analysis to identify and determine marketing strategies based on customer insights. 


AI for cybersecurity

As data becomes more and more important, it also becomes increasingly accessible and prone to cyber-attacks. Due to this, companies are actively investing in preventive measures to improve their organisation’s cybersecurity infrastructure. 

AI’s predictive algorithms play a crucial role in preventing cyber breaches and by incorporating this technology, companies will be able to reduce response time to threats.

Voice-based searches

Statista predicts that eight billion digital voice assistants will be used globally by 2023, up from the over two billion that were in use at the end of 2018. AI-powered voice-based applications such as Siri by Apple, Google Assistant and Alexa by Amazon have set the tone on how people find what they’re looking for online. 

Due to its convenience, it is expected that in the future, device-users around the world will use voice commands more often, instead of typing.