By this time, many of us have already heard of AI (artificial intelligence). From self-driving cars and games to medical diagnosis and stock trading, its applications are countless. The training industry is not an exception.

What does AI mean in practice? Google’s engineering director Ray Kurzweil defines strong AI as “machine intelligence with the full range of human intelligence.” What does that definition imply for business owners? Better decisions, higher efficiency and a huge cut on costs, especially in human resources.

What could be the implications for the training industry?

The True Meritocracy

In several industries, AI is measuring what used to be immeasurable. It can do the same in learning and development by providing insight into training and coaching evaluation. In a 2009 issue of Harvard Business Review, David B. Peterson wrote:

“Coaches can be very lax in evaluating the impact of their work and communicating results to executives and stakeholders. While 70% of coaches surveyed said they provide qualitative assessment of progress, fewer than one-third ever give feedback in the form of quantitative data on behaviors, and less than one-fourth provide any kind of quantitative data on business outcomes of the coaching engagement. Even this may represent a somewhat optimistic picture, given that this data comes from the coaches themselves.”

Measuring results is difficult, especially in areas where they can’t be easily measured. The results of a sales training are easy to measure with specific sales metrics. But how do we measure corporate culture? AI could analyze more than 100 factors at the same time if needed.

The freelance or gig economy is another trend the training industry won’t be able to hide from. According to Intuit, 43 percent of the U.S. workforce will consist of freelancers in 2020. It might be only a matter of time before a freelance corporate training marketplace emerges. If it does, AI training evaluation tools will be used on a massive scale. Populism will be defeated by a true meritocracy. Trainers will be hired based not on how pretty their website is but on the results their training has generated. Real results, from revenues to employee engagement and time management, are now measurable.

Identifying True Needs

Businesses often know what they want but not necessarily what they need. Artificial intelligence will be able to provide a huge insight into this topic and help us navigate complexity.

How? A lot of corporate information is already online, and analyzing those data is the first step. The second is a marketplace using AI. That marketplace will provide a great deal of data, which will prove to be exceptionally useful in recommending training based on the success of similar companies: “Companies that liked this training also benefitted from this one,” or “Companies like yours might benefit from exploring these types of profiles.”

Businesses will be more eager to try something new when data proves that the old ways don’t work anymore. External expertise is highly undervalued, because the need and the value are hard to measure. Soon, that will change, and long-lasting partnerships could be transformed.

Market Intelligence

What is the size of the training industry? Which categories are in high demand? Which trends should businesses adopt to survive in the next 10 years? When we can evaluate the value of training and the need behind it, and with the emergence of corporate training marketplaces, market transparency will increase dramatically.

What are the implications? Using the Pareto principle, 80 percent of the effects will come from 20 percent of the causes (or trainers). Finally, we will be able to identify the relevant effects from the sea of “causes.” With total market transparency, the top training service providers will be able to sell their services with higher prices, people in the middle will need to learn and adjust to the changes on the market, and the lowest-performing trainers will be out of job.

The number of companies working on AI technologies is measured in the thousands and includes all the tech giants, such as Google, Intel, Apple and Microsoft. The wave is big, and it’s growing. Join us, or enjoy the fruits of technological progress!