Mentions of artificial intelligence within the filings of companies in the power industry were 268% higher between October 2020 and September 2021 than in 2016, according to the latest analysis of data from GlobalData.

When companies in the power 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. Artificial intelligence 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 artificial intelligence is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the power industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned artificial intelligence at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 57% compared to 25% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to artificial intelligence.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the power industry, ABB was the company that referred to artificial intelligence the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 182 artificial intelligence-related sentences in the Switzerland-based company's filings – 2.7% of all sentences. Siemens mentioned artificial intelligence the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company's filings.

Across all companies in the power industry, the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on artificial intelligence came from SSE. Of the document's 1,777 sentences, seven (0.4%) referred to artificial intelligence.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and how important the issue is considered within the power 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 artificial intelligence have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises artificial intelligence mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the third quarter of 2021 was "smart robots", which made up 50% of all artificial intelligence subtheme mentions by companies in the power industry.