COVID – 19 and the Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is present in our daily lives and it has transformed the economy and the society. The exponential growth in the use of AI has been driven by the growth of archival capacity, the reduction of data storage costs and the increase of the potential to measure activities through data. According to Appen's 2020 State of AI report, in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, 41% of companies accelerated their AI strategies as a way to invest in automation to streamline remote work, improve the user and customer experience and reduce their costs. In addition, 75% of the surveyed associations quoted AI as a critical factor for their success in 2020. In order to act quickly, an opportunity was created for the development of AI-based techniques to increase the decision-making capacity. Thereby, due the pandemic, these tools were applied in areas such as education, tourism and retail, where AI helped the logistics of delivering meals without physical contact, the booking systems for scheduling at your local retail store and in the development of more autonomous stores in which it was necessary to use computerized models for store mapping and inventory tracking. In the health sector, AI has helped to provide more accurate and fast screening, mapping and prognosis of patients, as well as monitoring infected people. In addition, AI has enabled the development of drugs and vaccines, as well as reduced the workload for healthcare professionals.

Chatbots, which are computer programs that seek to simulate a human being in conversation with people, were used for the purpose of diagnosis and as a way of accessing free online health services. Therefore, the use of artificial intelligence is already a reality in many sectors and will shape the near future, with a significant impact on companies and society, namely with the postCovid scenario. According to an Accenture and Frontier Economics report, by 2035 is expected an increase of up to 40% to the influence of artificial intelligence on labor productivity in developed countries. By the other hand, there will be a bigger necessity for more skilled workers in the labour market. In this context, the Aveiro Labour Observatory has been working on identifying the qualification needs with the local business in order to attract and retain qualified professionals in Aveiro. The the exercises of prioritization and auscultation in the workshops in 2019 and 2020 with TICE and Industry sectors, but also in the interviews and questionnaires, the Specialist in Artificial Intelligence profession was considered by the participants as one of the most priority for the sector and whose skills (techniques and soft skills) are the most difficult to find in the regional market.