How AI Will Transform 5 Key Industries

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From healthcare to cleantech and finance, the potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) are vast.

Experts discussed the impact of AI at the Collision Conference, which was held in Toronto, Canada, from June 18 to 20

1. AI agents: Revolutionizing industry dynamics

Harry McCracken, technology editor at Fast Company, sat down with Kanjun Qiu, co-founder and CEO of Imbue, to discuss how AI agents can democratize and decentralize computing and transform entire industries.

“I think of (AI agents) as a thing that makes your computer do things you want it to do, like a software program that takes action,” Qiu said. “And so an existing AI agent is a Facebook news recommendation system or a self-driving car. These types of AI agents are very vertical-specific, and what’s most exciting about this upcoming wave is more general AI agents.”

She went on to explain that as these agents improve their reasoning, people, including those who aren’t skilled with technology, will be able to use them to write software programs for virtually any application.

“Most people think of agents as this personal assistant, but, actually, an agent is this intermediary between you and your computer, and you talk to it in English, and it talks to your computer by writing code,’ she said. ‘And what that allows for is for your agent to do anything on your computer without you having to write specific code for every single application.”

2. AI’s built environment impact: Transforming cities and architecture

As AI technology continues to advance, its potential to revolutionize city infrastructure design becomes increasingly apparent. Within the realm of architecture and urban planning, AI is anticipated to make a substantial contribution to creating more sustainable and livable urban environments.

Alex Israel, the co-founder and CEO of Metropolis, spoke with Jon Erlichman of BNN Bloomberg about the scalability and diverse applications of AI and machine learning technology in the built environment. Metropolis provides smart parking and mobility solutions for urban environments.

Explaining Metropolis’ business model to the audience, Israel said, “We leveraged computer vision technology to take a fingerprint analysis of the vehicle, identify a vehicle, and pair that vehicle with a profile. So users sign up … with their credit card, license plates and phone number, and then anytime they enter a Metropolis-enabled facility anywhere in the United States, they get a text message when they arrive, and they’re seamlessly charged when leave.”

The company plans to eventually scale its business and deploy the technology into new verticals, such as car washes and gas stations.

Israel envisions a future where computer vision has made payments automatic, eliminating the need to use apps or credit cards.

“My goal would be that this idea of seamless, checkout-free commerce becomes a household component of everyone’s day-to-day life, that they’re not taking our their phone, they’re not taking out their wallet, but just engaged in seamless, checkout-free commerce,” he said.

Israel also touched on the crucial need for public-private sector partnerships to develop AI tools, as informed decision-making in urban planning requires a multitude of data gathered from myriad sources.

“I think there’s a real opportunity for a public-private partnership, where there’s significant collaboration between the private sector that’s developing innovative solutions, from either an autonomous vehicle perspective or artificial intelligence side of things, directly with regulators and policy.”

3. Healthcare redefined: AI-supported personalization and testing

AI is also making significant strides in the healthcare industry, particularly in life sciences where AI models are used to analyze genetic data. Genetic data analysis enables a revolutionized approach to healthcare, helping medical professionals develop personalized care plans.

At the Collision conference, Wesley Chan, co-founder and managing partner of FPV Ventures, told Fox Business anchor Susan Li he believes over the coming five to 10 years, the life science sector will benefit increasingly from AI.

AI has made a particularly significant impact in oncology. In addition to its role in advancing CAR-T cell therapy, AI has enabled more accurate and personalized cancer testing, thereby improving patient outcomes.

Dr. Craig Eagle, a leading expert from Guardant Health (NASDAQ:GH), discussed liquid biopsies, non-invasive blood tests that can test for abnormal DNA. He presented a compelling case to Collision attendees for the transformative potential of the widespread adoption of liquid biopsies in oncology.

Liquid biopsies have shown promise in detecting cancer, monitoring ongoing treatment outcomes and identifying recurrence. This method analyzes shed cancer cells in the bloodstream, known in the medical field as circulating tumor cells (CTCs).

Liquid biopsies offer a more accessible and effective way to test for cancer over traditional diagnostic procedures, which typically involve retrieving a tissue sample. This can be challenging in certain situations, especially when the suspected cancer is deep within the body.

Ongoing efforts have been devoted to developing more comprehensive liquid biopsy tests, and technological advancements have improved their sensitivity while reducing the cost. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved multiple technologies designed to capture and categorize CTCs, including the CellSearch System, a medical device system developed by Menarini Silicon Biosystems that detects and counts CTCs in blood samples.

4. Cleantech breakthroughs: AI-powered sustainability for fleet vehicles

Cleantech is gaining mainstream recognition as a viable investment opportunity. Panelists pointed to a trend of growing interest in climate tech evident in various sectors, indicating a shift towards sustainable and impactful investments in climate technology driven by both economic viability and the global imperative for climate action.

Advancements in electrification for fleet vehicles, such as wireless electric vehicle chargers and repurposed charging infrastructure, were also noted as technologies gaining traction at Collision. The demand for AI-powered clean technologies is also accelerating, and one presenter discussed improving autonomous fleet vehicles with generative AI.

John Rizzo, chief technical officer at wireless charger developer InductEV, highlighted the importance of electrifying fleet vehicles, which make up less than 10 percent of conveyance but produce over 70 percent of carbon emissions.

“So, to the extent that we can focus on taking carbon out of the atmosphere by electrifying fleet vehicles, like buses, dredge trucks and box trucks — it’s a huge win not only for carbon, but it turns out, they’re much more economical to operate,” he told the audience. Rizzo explained that InductEV’s approach is to charge the vehicles wirelessly at points during their route, such as when they stop at a bus station or loading dock.

Raquel Urtasun, CEO of Waabi, later presented her company’s solution to putting autonomous electrified fleet vehicles on the road for the Collision audience. For the past three years, Waabi has been working on applying generative AI technology to the autonomous trucking industry.

Urtasun said self-driving cars must be able to perceive, interpret and reason on the road, but current testing models haven’t accurately reflected real-world scenarios. Generative AI can create a more realistic simulator and include parameters such as driver behavior and interactions with other vehicles.

Waabi’s simulator, Waabi World, is powered by its in-house technology, which uses machine learning algorithms to perform real-time analysis of data collected by the vehicle’s sensors. Waabi-powered self-driving trucks have already been deployed in Texas, and on June 18 the company announced it had raised US$200 million in a series B funding round led by Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Khosla Ventures. Waabi plans to deploy autonomous trucks all over the US and Canada by 2025.

5. Decentralizing finance: AI’s role in revolutionizing the financial system

The integration of advanced technologies like AI, Web3 infrastructure and blockchain is driving a paradigm shift, enabling decentralized solutions to gain momentum. At the Collision event, Lucas Matheson, CEO of Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) Canada, emphasized the significance of blockchain technology in this transition, stressing its transparency and ability to cater to diverse interests.

He contrasted this with traditional financial systems, which he argues primarily benefit governments and institutions.

“One of the things that makes blockchain so incredible isn’t the technology; it’s that we understand how blockchains work,” Matheson said. “There’s no secrets, there’s no ulterior motives — the system is transparent and it’s designed with everyone’s intentions and interests in mind.”

During a separate discussion, CEO of MMH Technology Group Emma Todd and moderator Sam Bourgi talked about the potential of digital assets, including Bitcoin and stablecoins, in addressing financial inclusion in countries facing hyperinflation, such as Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

The need for regulatory guidance in the Web3 space to balance financial stability and innovation was discussed in a conversation between Rashmi Gopinath, a general partner at B Capital Group; Ana De Sousa, CEO at Agio Ratings; and Ed Zitron, CEO at

The speakers agreed that guidelines and standards are crucial and also acknowledged the need to move beyond liquidity and focus on productive use cases such as tokenization of real-world assets, supply chain and data management, and decentralized financial services such as lending, borrowing, and trading.

If concerns surrounding standardization and regulatory challenges can be resolved, the integration of AI could enhance the capabilities and efficiency of these decentralized systems.

Investor takeaway

AI, with its multifaceted applications, is helping revolutionize many industries, from enhancing urban planning and healthcare to driving sustainability and decentralizing finance.

As AI technology continues to advance, it holds immense potential to address global challenges, such as climate change and financial inequality, and shape a more sustainable and equitable future for all. It is important for these advancements to be developed responsibly, with proper regulation and oversight, to truly benefit humankind.

Securities Disclosure: I, Meagen Seatter, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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