AI trends for 2021

Written by: Jack Myasushkin

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2021 continues to be a year of innovation for Artificial Intelligence! If you’re curious and want to dig deeper into the global trends and expectations for Intelligent Automation in the years to come, we have an exciting announcement for you. Our new book, Working Machines – An Executive’s Guide to AI and Intelligent Automation, is now available for purchase on Amazon, Google Books, Apple Books and Audible. In it, we look at all the major trends that will shape the future of work, but also detailing the practical steps business owners need to take to build their own AI strategy.

In a year that will forever be defined by the unprecedented disruption of COVID-19, history might also look back on 2020 as the year where the true value and impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was cemented. AI was thrust into the mainstream to meet the demands of a fluctuating business landscape and proved, once and for all, to be a highly effective tool for sustainable growth during a crisis. 

Businesses are now looking ahead to forge new avenues for growth and innovation using AI as a change-catalyst. With AI adoption more pervasive than ever, what new trends should businesses look to leverage to get ahead of the competition in a post-pandemic future?

Here are our top AI trends for 2021.

Hyperautomation as a cornerstone for modern business

Gartner again asserts that hyperautomation (or the process of automating everything that can be automated) is crucial for any organisation to keep up with the digital advancements of modern business practices. Hyperautomation is the driving force of digital transformation with the aim to streamline processes to create higher efficiency, accuracy, and output. As the world continues to adopt digital technologies as drivers for innovation and growth, RPA is key in establishing a grounding to accelerate business processes in the years to come. 

AIOps will become standard procedure

As complex IT environments and technologies continue to evolve, AIOps is used to improve key processes and tasks of an organisation’s IT operations through better analysis of large volumes and categories of collected data. Using Machine Learning’s (ML) ability to gather and synthesise immense data chunks, organisations benefit from more accurate predictions that lead to better decision-making opportunities. Furthermore, this technology enables cross-team collaboration through the correlation of data, paving the way for end-to-end digital experiences across entire organisations.

Voice- and language-driven intelligence will proliferate

The voice and speech recognition market has grown at a CAGR of 17.2% since 2019 and is projected to reach $26.8 billion by 2025. The pandemic created a surge in smart speaker usage and facilitated a steady move toward contactless technologies for hygiene safety concerns. 2021 will see more voice solutions aimed at improving business processes (i.e. voice in meetings and voice for business intelligence). Voice assistants will increasingly be tailored to specific business challenges and integrated with internal systems, such as CRM and business processes.

AI ethics will become tangible

As private companies power AI’s advancements, the lack of governmental oversight has pushed the debate over the ethics of responsible AI to the fore. This year we will likely see tangible initiatives from global AI partnerships on how to leverage AI to battle against major global issues, such as climate change, and inclusion and diversity. Ethics will also play a major part in the stimulation of innovation and economic growth as more organisations realise the need for responsible tech. Fairness of algorithms and data transparency are issues that will need to be addressed this year as AI adoption is more widespread than ever.

Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) will lay its roots

This year will establish the gravitas of the AIoT as the merger between AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more sophisticated. AI’s ability to present actionable insights in real-time will drive the IoT to new heights by allowing it to perform actions based on the data IoT devices collect. A major driving factor to this technology is the rollout of 5G which will enable faster transfer of large volumes of data across IoT devices. This will result in the increase of smart homes, offices, and cities powered by sensor-driven devices as AI’s intervention in this tech allows for automated processes at a much larger scale. 

AI-powered cybersecurity will become more sophisticated

As more of the world pivots to remote working systems, 2021 will see AI being used for preventative cybersecurity initiatives. This is mainly due to the proliferation of workers’ personal laptops and computers being used to access organisation’s servers which opens companies up to cyber threats. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are using AI technology to bypass conventional IT security systems to infiltrate systems housing sensitive company and personal data. But AI also helps in the fight against cyber threats, and this year we predict more organisations placing more money into securing their data through the use of sophisticated cybersecurity technologies

AI investment will skyrocket

In the wake of the pandemic, businesses have seen the real value of AI and RPA as the driver of efficiency, accuracy, and improved customer satisfaction. According to a recent PwC survey, 86% of respondents say that AI will become mainstream in their business operation this year, which will see a dramatic increase in AI investment in global enterprises. In many instances, businesses have been able to remain operational during the pandemic thanks to AI technology, and amidst the uncertainty of the future, organisations are placing their bets on smart technology to foster growth and drive revenue.


There you have it, our list for the most exciting AI trends posed to make an impact in 2021. As the technology evolves, so must businesses’ ability to adapt to these new changes in order to continue to leverage the many positive impacts AI provides. While some of our trends may simply be predictions, what is absolutely certain is that digital transformation powered by AI technology is the future of global business practices.

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Last modified: March 18, 2021
Author info
Jack Myasushkin
Jack is WeAreBrain's CTO and Co-founder. Originally from Ukraine, he has skipped between Ukraine, the United States and the Netherlands throughout his career.