To learn how sectors and businesses are using artificial intelligence, The Economist (subscription) created an index of firms in the S&P 500—and the results show that “even beyond tech firms the interest in AI is growing fast.”
What’s going on: “We looked at five measures: the share of issued patents that mention AI; venture-capital (VA) activity targeting AI firms; acquisitions of AI firms; job listings citing AI; and mentions of the technology on earnings calls. … [C]lear leaders and laggards are already emerging.”
The findings: In the past three years, approximately two-thirds of the companies examined by The Economist have placed a job ad that refers to AI. One of the sharpest increases in such mentions has been among chipmakers.
- The number of registered AI-related patents rose between 2020 and 2022.
- This year, about 25% of venture deals by S&P 500 companies involved AI start-ups, an increase from 19% just two years ago.
Outside Silicon Valley: While the index found that the most “enthusiastic” users of AI are technology companies, “[b]eyond tech, two types of firms seem to be adopting AI the quickest.”
- Data-heavy sectors, including insurance, pharmaceutical and financial-services companies “account for about a quarter of our top 100.” In this category, Abbott is building AI-powered medical tools.
- The other category of company quickly adopting AI includes “industries that are already being disrupted by technology,” such as automakers, telecom, retail and media. Among these are Ford and General Motors, which are using AI in electric-vehicle manufacturing.
The last word: AI use may have some drawbacks, including cybersecurity risks, potential legal liability and possible inaccuracy of results. However, these “must be weighed against the potential benefits, which could be vast.”