Artificial intelligence is transforming every business, every aspect of our lives in much the same way the internet has over the past 25 years. And like the internet, AI is important not only on its own but also for how it enables so many other technologies. The centrality of AI to so many other technologies is why SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) has made AI the core of its investment philosophy, including its strategy around the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has cast light on some of the needs that AI can help address. The pandemic has also sped up digitization and adoption of new technologies. For example, researchers around the world used AI to analyze data, significantly shortening design cycles for vaccine development. AI is being used in other areas of medicine, too, such as to find new treatments and speed up diagnoses for cancer. It can also improve the administrative side of healthcare by automating tasks, providing chatbots to help patients stay on track with medications or regimens, or getting information to doctors faster. It’s changes like these that SBG is working to accelerate.
The pandemic impacted education, as well, allowing teachers and students to discover that technology can be a useful complement to classrooms and may also one day soon offer a solution to overcoming disparities in access to education. In finance, the pandemic accelerated a shift toward online services, with AI-based chatbots and roboadvisors helping people navigate financial choices from the convenience and safety of their own homes. Even buying property has moved online, with visits arranged via virtual or augmented reality.
By investing in these kinds of AI-driven technologies across industries as diverse as education, wellness (including healthcare and fitness), finance, mobility and logistics, SBG’s focus is on driving transformations that improve lives and benefit us all, bringing greater happiness to our everyday lives.