Artificial intelligence in aviation: AI offers huge potential

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Artificial intelligence itself is nothing new and has long been harnessed by the aviation industry (for example, flight management systems and autopilots). Nevertheless, the industry - indeed, the broader economy - is at an inflection point where AI's capabilities are making an upward leap, thanks to improvements in readily available computing power. This is coinciding with an explosion in data availability and processing need.

A Jun-2018 IATA white paper on artificial intelligence defines AI as "computer programs that exhibit human-like intelligence such as logical reasoning, problem solving and learning". It adds that AI comes in embodied (e.g. Robots) and disembodied (e.g. Apple Siri, Google Now) forms.

AI's focus has changed from supporting simple repetitive tasks to learning and aping human behaviours and tasks. The unfolding AI revolution has potentially significant implications for all business processes, including customer interaction, operations, the supply chain, and support functions.

AI can provide benefits both through the optimisation and the replacement of existing processes and systems. It is set to act as a disruptor in the labour market, since it will lead to significant change in the activities carried out by people and also those tasks better suited to machines.

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