Position Statement on the North American Agenda on Artificial Intelligence by MIT Technology Review

Submitted by Sameer Samal and Nimrat Dhillon, Research Members.



Artificial Intelligence has paved its way in all the diverse North American brackets ranging from business organizations to academics and healthcare. This has led to the advent of an increase in innovation and research in the field of AI across various North American firms. IBM, Microsoft, Walmart, Amazon, and Facebook are some of the key players here and across the globe. AI is being used for developing deep fakes and facial recognition features, whilst simultaneously helping in-network and consumer analytics.


A global MIT Technology Review Insights survey done in 2020 got a glimpse of AI’s popularity, challenges and benefits across the globe and the compelling results found in North America are listed below:

  1. AI technologies are being most actively used in the fields of Customer Research - 55% and the projected growth in three years is 67%. With current usage at 30% which may increase to 60% by 2022, the highest AI penetration is expected in the field of Sales and Marketing. In contrast, the area of Research and Development is currently at 48% and is projected to downgrade to 40% in the coming years.

  2. The Insurance industry is expected to strengthen its links with AI as spending on the latter is expected to record a compound annual growth rate of 30% which, shows that the investments will be rocketing from $412.6 million to $2.6 billion by 2025.

  3. The top benefits courtesy of investments in AI includes the improvement in operational efficiency and cost savings (61%), better management decision-making (48%), and improved customer service (40%).

  4. Potential AI-related constraints are about the usage of AI insights (54%), shortage of AI developers (49%), data quantity, quality, or availability (47%), and security concerns (39%).

  5. The top advantages of sharing data amongst similar industries include faster and more innovative product developments (64%), greater speed and visibility across supply chains (54%), and more efficient and innovative manufacturing (42%).


The key takeaways from this survey prominently point towards the surge in AI-related initiatives across North America, with reports of about 85% of North American respondents being actively involved in them. Moreover, forecasts in the field of Sales and Marketing expect an investment upsurge by 100%. Apart from the economic viability of AI in these industries, the report has also recorded data privacy concerns and found that over 80% of the respondents favour data sharing. These companies establish the rationale that data sharing enables data alliances and partnerships which may be beneficial for innovation and growth.


The major obstacle for AI innovation and growth in certain industries is due to the lack of a comprehensive federal regulatory framework. While certain industries may benefit from the absence of a regulatory regime, other sectors, such as the financial services industry, require its assistance. Federal regulatory sandboxes will promote growth in many sectors of financial services by allowing live tests of digital innovations.


In conclusion, it is abundantly clear that innovation in the field of AI has been remarkably lucrative for companies in North America. This also proves that an understandable increase in the aforementioned is bound to come. The use of AI in the branches of research and development, customer service, sales and marketing all point towards the overarching question about the ethics of the usage of AI in the system. Majority of the companies do not shy away from data sharing or forming alliances for sharing data. Therefore, regardless of the economic growth that such technological developments may promise, it is necessary to consider safety, security and protection of all the involved parties. Considering the threats of frauds and data manipulation by certain facets of AI on individuals, the North American key players must innovate and develop with a more privacy sustainable approach.


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