AI predictions 2021

How to navigate the top five AI trends facing your business

Despite a tough year for many, US companies are accelerating their approach to artificial intelligence (AI). A quarter of the companies participating in our latest AI survey report widespread adoption of AI, up from 18% last year. Another 54% are heading there fast. And they’re no longer just laying the foundation. They’re reaping rewards from AI right now, in part because it has proven a highly effective response to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, most of the companies that have fully embraced AI report seeing major benefits.

Yet a painful fact persists: AI is hard. Too many AI investments end up as “pretty shiny objects” that don’t pay off. Most companies have yet to adapt talent strategies, organizational structures, business strategies, development methodologies and risk mitigation for a world that moves at AI speed.

So there’s work to be done, but the reward can be enormous: concrete benefits today and the foundation for success tomorrow. As we’ve done for the last four years, we’ve made key predictions informed by our survey of more than 1,000 executives (including over 200 CEOs) at US companies that are using AI. Together, these insights should help your company navigate the top AI trends it will face in 2021 and beyond.

Learn about the five predictions and what your company can do to make the most of AI

1. No uncertainty here: AI investments will increase

1. No uncertainty here

AI investments will increase

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2. Your strategic ally: Faster and better decisions, thanks to AI

2. Your strategic ally

Faster and better decisions, thanks to AI

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3. From risk awareness to risk action: Responsible AI’s time is now

3. From risk awareness to risk action

Responsible AI’s time is now

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4. Beyond upskilling: new talent strategies will emerge

4. Beyond upskilling

New talent strategies will emerge

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5. The model is never done: The AI reorganization accelerates

5. The model is never done

The AI reorganization accelerates

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About the survey

PwC’s annual AI Predictions survey, now in its fourth edition, explores the activities and attitudes of US business and technology executives who are involved in their organization’s AI strategies. Among this year’s 1,032 survey respondents, 71% hold C-suite titles and 25% were from companies with revenues of $5 billion and up. They are from the following industries: industrial products (20%), consumer markets (20%), financial services (18%), tech, media and telecommunications (17%), health industries (17%), and energy, utilities and mining (8%). The survey was conducted by PwC Research, PwC’s global Center of Excellence for market research and insight, in October 2020.


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Scott Likens

Scott Likens

PwC Emerging Technology Leader, ­US, China, and Japan, PwC US

Anand Rao

Anand Rao

Global & US Artificial Intelligence and US Data & Analytics Leader, PwC US

Michael Shehab

Michael Shehab

PwC Labs & Tax Technology Leader, PwC US

Jennifer Lendler

Jennifer Lendler

Managing Director, Assurance, PwC US

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