If you go by the headlines, 2022 was a breakout year for AI. Every week, it seemed there were articles about generative AI showcasing the technology’s ability to create amazing artworks, essays and graphic designs seemingly out of thin air.
There were stories about AI companies raising hundreds of millions of dollars despite the downturn. AI was everywhere.
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But as an investor in AI and automation companies for the last decade, I’d say, “We’re just getting started.” Underlying technologies have advanced to a point where AI is now useful for most industries, and the cost to deploy it has reached a point where real ROI is possible. But we’re still in the early innings.
In 2023, I predict one thing: Companies will put serious time and money into investigating AI, leading to widespread deployments in 2024.
Right now, AI is still something most companies are looking to understand from a business perspective. They know it’s important to improve productivity, efficiency and profitability, but they aren’t sure which AI-enabled tools are the right investment. And they are still trying to hire teams that understand AI enough to help direct implementation.
Almost every CTO I talked to in 2022 said their biggest roadblock to deploying AI was finding the right engineers and data scientists to help them get there. And even companies in sectors that are further along the AI adoption scale — such as health care, manufacturing and warehousing — still struggle with getting buy-in from higher-ups to roll out AI at scale. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. To get AI widely deployed you need a champion inside the company to support that investment. But until leaders see AI in action, they don’t become those champions.
So what’s next in 2023? Generative AI will break into the enterprise in fits and spurts. Executives will be surprised by the speed, depth and capabilities of generative AI, leading to experimentation with business models and use cases. Forward-thinking business leaders will reimagine their products, service delivery and operations based on what AI can do for them.
More broadly, 2023 will be the start of a real AI reckoning for companies across diverse industries from finance and health care to manufacturing, transportation and entertainment. Companies that layer machine learning and generative AI over their own proprietary data sets stand to gain actionable insights that will help them jump ahead of competitors in the next decade. Thanks to myriad stories about the power of generative AI in 2022, AI will finally get the attention it deserves from business users in 2023.
Jason Schoettler is co-founder and managing partner at Calibrate Ventures, which invests exclusively in AI and automation companies in almost every sector. He currently sits on the boards of Calibrate portfolio companies Embodied, FarmWise, Regard and TruckLabs.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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