Are we looking at an ‘AI-Winter’ in view of the current economic doldrums?

The US as well as the European economy has had a wonderful run for more than a decade. The Indian market, following the lead of the western world, with the help of the IT revolution has seen a great time. However, even before the COVID crisis hit the world the economists had been anticipating a downward curve. The bulls had had their run, it was time for the bears, even if short lived. But now with the pandemic situation showing no signs of subsiding we might be entering the economic doldrums, or even worse, another great depression. Economists in the US are anticipating recession upto 50%. The situation is grim to say the least. 

AI-winter? 

The key driver of investments in the technology industry in the last few years has been AI, machine learning and its various branches. The Chinese government has made large investments in AI research. A large number of US companies have invested heavily. There have been many initiatives in India as well. The fact that the investments and R&D in the field of artificial intelligence will take a blow is a no brainer. But are we entering a period of stagnation in terms of AI integration and innovation? This is a burning question at this point. While professionals from different fields are showing enthusiasm to join the AI band wagon and planning to join a some applied AI course, they are also plagued with some sort of uncertainty as to the future of this field. 

Ray of hope

According to an article on Forbes by Tom Davenport, a prominent CIO, the situation for AI is not as grim as it might seem. The application and integration of AI has not stopped but it has shifted its focus. In fact the AI and machine learning industries are among the few industries that have not stopped recruiting even during the crisis. There is a steady 12-15% increment across the industries in the demand for skilled AI and machine learning professionals. There are new AI and machines learning trends to watch out for. And if you feel your current career is under threat, it is time you start considering how to learn AI and machine learning tools by yourself. 

The shift in focus

The economy has stopped humming along with the happy run of AI innovations. There have been a lot of pilot runs and concept proof tests so far, but the time for that has passed. This is time to apply AI in production, process automation, and augmentation of human labour. There is a chance that the backroom discussions about cutting costs by letting go people whose jobs are automated may come to a realization at this point. There will be layoffs in a time of economic retrenchment that is how it works. The leaders have a real test in front of them. 

Nevertheless, AI will continue to be a driving force. And people skilled in this aspect will thrive.

pavan Kumar
Proud organizer. Food nerd. Extreme thinker. Evil alcohol expert. Falls down a lot. Freelance music buff. Explorer.

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