Filings buzz: 21% increase in AI mentions in Q4 2021

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Mentions of AI within the filings of companies in the airport industry rose 21% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to AI during 2021 was 204% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When companies in the airport industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports, and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years.

AI is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether AI is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the airport industry, two measures were calculated.

Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned AI at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 62%, compared to 30% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to AI.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the airport industry, Yamato was the company that referred to AI the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 10 AI-related sentences in the Japan-based company's filings – 0.5% of all sentences. Post Italiane mentioned AI the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.2% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high AI mentions included FedEx, Lufthansa, and Royal Mail.

Across all companies in the airport industry, the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on AI came from K Line. Of the document's 1,304 sentences, 10 (0.8%) referred to AI.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on AI and how important the issue is considered within the airport industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully.

For example, a company mentioning artificial intelligence more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into AI have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises AI mentions by a series of sub-themes. Of these sub-themes, the most commonly referred to topic in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 'computer vision', which made up 37% of all AI subtheme mentions by companies in the airport industry.