Devin Partida writes about cyber security and technology. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been transforming the world for years, and it’s not done yet. Despite its already impressive track record, the technology is still in its infancy and will continue to shape industries as it advances. Nearly every sector can benefit from AI, but some are likely to see more dramatic changes than others.

Many companies say they plan to increase their AI investments in response to COVID-19. The pandemic has highlighted how AI can help some industries, which will drive adoption in these sectors. As a result, these five industries will see the most impact from AI in 2021.

1. Manufacturing

Nearly all industries faced disruptions from the pandemic, and manufacturing dealt with more than most. In light of skyrocketing demand and reduced capacity, manufacturers need novel ways to improve efficiency and cut costs. For many, AI will be the answer.

A recent survey expects AI in manufacturing to grow at a CAGR of 39.7% between now and 2027. That growth stems mostly from the desire to become more profitable, which is exceedingly pressing amid COVID-related losses. In 2021, manufacturers will use AI to reshape their supply chains, adjust workflows, and do more to adapt to their new circumstances.

2. Health Care

Some medical institutions have been hesitant to adopt AI due to its historical issues with bias. Developers are working to eliminate discrimination in AI, making predictive analytics more usable in the medical industry. As a result, more hospitals will adopt it, leading to transformative changes.

Medical AI can screen patients before doctors, lowering wait times, making faster diagnoses and enabling more effective treatments. Automation was previously impossible in this industry, but AI will make health care a more automated sector. In a field where efficiency can save lives, that’s a remarkable change.

3. Retail

In the wake of lockdowns and other restrictions, many retailers had to move online. As more retailers turn to e-commerce, they’ll likewise embrace AI. Automated tools help retailers market more effectively, manage their inventory, and enable fluid, 24/7 customer service.

E-commerce will help retailers recover from COVID losses, and AI improves the online shopping experience, and can help bridge the gap between retailers’ digital and physical locations in multiple ways. Those gains are hard to ignore for an industry hit so hard by the pandemic.

4. Transportation

2021 could be a landmark year for autonomous cars. Market leader Tesla recently became the sixth-largest publicly traded company in the U.S., and the IoT infrastructure for these vehicles will keep expanding. As the driving force behind driverless cars, AI is set to revolutionize the industry.

Fully autonomous vehicles won’t likely emerge in 2021, but companies will undoubtedly get closer. With more advanced AI and improved training systems, cars will feature more self-driving features. AI-based functions like corrective steering and automated parking could become standard.

5. Entertainment

Most discussions regarding AI in business skip over the entertainment industry. That may be because the technology hasn’t seen much use in the sector outside of personalization algorithms. In 2021, it’s possible that AI will play a much more significant role in entertainment.

Game developers are likely to use conversational AI to enable more immersive and unique dialogue options for non-player characters. Traditionally, creating these games require hundreds of people and millions of dollars to develop. By using AI to automate some processes, like 3D modeling, studios will produce large-scale games in record time.

AI will shape many sectors in 2021

As companies across multiple industries attempt to recover from 2020, AI will likely emerge as a leading solution. AI is simultaneously becoming more advanced and accessible, paving the way for broader adoption. By the end of 2021, it’ll be challenging to find an industry that AI hasn’t affected.

These five sectors are just a sample of the fields AI will likely transform in the near future.