Sep 5, 2018

The devilishly quiet age of AI

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The world is in a deceptively quiet period in which some companies and countries are aggressively developing and applying early, rudimentary models of artificial intelligence, but the impact is not visible.

Why it matters: The AI revolution will arrive almost imperceptibly, but still faster than prior big technological shifts because of intense global competition and the breadth of its reach, according to a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute.

But by the second half of the next decade, a few players will be conspicuously ahead of rivals, and by 2035, there will be clear winners and losers among countries, companies and individuals.

  • The dividing line will be defined by those who took the coming age seriously and prepared for it and those who were passive.

The report follows up on a May study by McKinsey that described an evolving pecking order of companies that were establishing "an insurmountable advantage" over peers by pushing ahead with AI. It singled out nine "superstar" companies, all in the U.S. and China, that were well ahead of everyone else.

The latest study expands by adding to the list winning countries and individuals. In all, McKinsey analyzed 41 countries, grouping them into four buckets by how well they appeared to be poised for the new age of AI.

The main message: The era's winners will be those who are not fooled by the absence of visible change from AI over the next 5-7 years. By the time the fruits of AI investment become clear — after 2025 — it will be extremely difficult to compete with the leading players, says Jacques Bughin and Jeongmin Seong, two co-authors of the report.

  • China and the U.S. are at the top by themselves.
  • "By 2035, a lot of the game will have played," Seong told Axios.
  • But, but, but, the study said, "The economic impact of AI is not guaranteed by being in a particular group of countries that look promising in terms of readiness — passivity will mean that even if the factors appear to be in place for the rapid adoption of AI, the economic benefits are unlikely to materialize."

The big picture: AI adoption will add $13 trillion a year to global production, the report said, and an average of 1.2% to global GDP growth per year.

  • Among companies, those that embrace AI will see double their cash flow by 2030. Those that don't could lose 20% of their revenue by then.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases surpass 200,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Positive cases of the coronavirus passed 200,000 on Wednesday — nearly twice as many as Italy — as more state governors issued stay-at-home orders for Americans to curb infection, per Johns Hopkins.

The state of play: In a major pivot in tone, President Trump said Tuesday it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Very small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 900,000 and the global death toll surpassed 45,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health