In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, lockdowns and social distancing are accelerating the adoption of e-commerce, online learning, remote work, and online entertainment. And since online platforms and marketplaces generate so much data and rely so heavily on artificial intelligence (AI), their growth will only expand the AI gold rush.
Already, global e-commerce sales have grown more than 20% per year each of the past three years. The number of students taking at least one course online has grown by almost two percentage points per year. And the percentage of Americans who sometimes telework has grown by one percentage point per year.
The pace of growth is now sure to skyrocket. Restaurants are rushing to adopt online ordering systems and forge partnerships with delivery services. Universities are adopting digital tools of which they were once wary. Employers are embracing Zoom cloud meetings. And the cancellation of live entertainment from Broadway to March Madness is sure to drive even more Americans to online video games, casinos, music streaming, video streaming, and social media.
That is increasing demand for the products and services of AI and cloud computing startups, and increasing employer demand for AI skills. Between February and March 2020, job titles that include the term “artificial intelligence” are on track to increase by 11%—at a time when job postings in most occupations are falling.
Moreover, the coronavirus outbreak has sparked increased interest in using AI tools for diagnosis, AI-powered chatbots for easing telemedicine patient data logging, AI-based predictive models for global market analysis and forecasting, and of AI-based tools for solving complex global supply chain management challenges.