AI in 2020, why fire can help biodiversity, and how COVID-19 is pushing women out of the workforce

How artificial intelligence is helping boost company profits, why controlled fires can help biodiversity and the impact of the pandemic on working women. Our round-up of provoking thoughts, penetrating insights and digital curiosities.

AI benefits and investment revealed

A new report by consultancy McKinsey found that 22% of companies surveyed attribute more than 5% of profits to their use of artificial intelligence (AI). The State of AI in 2020 found that companies seeing significant value from AI were continuing to invest in it during the pandemic, in particular those in the automotive, healthcare, pharmaceutical and medical products sectors. However, it says that achieving impact at scale is difficult for many businesses not only due to the technical challenges but also due to the organisational changes required.

Read more: How has the pandemic affected the outlook for robotics?

How controlled fires can help the natural world

While out-of-control wildfires are often a result of climate change, and leave a devastating effect, natural fires can actually help promote biodiversity, Science reports. Strategically allowing areas of grassland to burn under the right conditions can allow grazing animals the space and vegetation they need to thrive, while collecting data will allow the effectiveness of this approach to be measured.

Read more: Industrialised agriculture: How the reliance on soybean harms biodiversity

How COVID-19 is pushing women out of work

Women are being squeezed out of the workforce by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). It said that women who are often paid less and have less job security than men are sacrificing their careers in order to care for family members – exacerbated by fact that one in 10 school pupils worldwide are still learning at home due to lockdowns. The ILO believes that the pandemic risks undoing much of the progress achieved in reducing gender inequalities at work and that unpaid care work should be put at the centre of social and economic policies.

Read more: The pandemic’s gender bias needs urgent fixing

A breakthrough in anti-ageing treatment

While life expectancy is increasing, the health of our bodies may not always be able to keep up – but scientists believe they have now found a way to keep us younger at a cellular level. According to the journal Aging, researchers used a form of oxygen therapy to reverse two key indicators of biological ageing, though said how long the effects would last would need to be studied further.

Read more: 10 ways the longevity economy is changing the way we live now

Not for Retail distribution: This document is intended exclusively for Professional, Institutional, Qualified or Wholesale Clients / Investors only, as defined by applicable local laws and regulation. Circulation must be restricted accordingly.

This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments as per MIF Directive (2014/65/EU), nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities.

Due to its simplification, this document is partial and opinions, estimates and forecasts herein are subjective and subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee forecasts made will come to pass. Data, figures, declarations, analysis, predictions and other information in this document is provided based on our state of knowledge at the time of creation of this document. Whilst every care is taken, no representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the recipient. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.

Issued in the UK by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Registered in England and Wales, No: 01431068. Registered Office: 155 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3YD (until 31st December 2020); 22 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ (from 1st January 2021).


In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.


© 2020 AXA Investment Managers. All rights reserved