Tuesday, 16 July 2019 12:00

Artificial intelligence projects to double: survey

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Artificial intelligence projects to double: survey Image cooldesign, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Organisations that are early adopters of artificial intelligence (AI) have multiple projects in production and plan to double the number of AI projects in the coming few years, according to a new research report.

The online survey on AI from Gartner reveals that organisations that are working with artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) have, on average, four AI/ML projects in place – with 59% of respondents saying they have AI deployed today.

“We see a substantial acceleration in AI adoption this year,” said Jim Hare, research vice president at Gartner.

“The rising number of AI projects means that organisations may need to reorganise internally to make sure that AI projects are properly staffed and funded. It is a best practice to establish an AI Centre of Excellence to distribute skills, obtain funding, set priorities and share best practices in the best possible way.”

While the average number of AI projects in place is four, survey respondents said they expected to add six more projects in the next 12 months, and another 15 within the next three years – meaning that in 2022, those organisations expect to have an average of 35 AI or ML projects in place.

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Forty percent of organisations named Customer Experience (CX) as their top motivator to use AI technology.

While technologies such as chat bots or virtual personal assistants can be used to serve external clients, most organisations (56%) today use AI internally to support decision making and give recommendations to employees.

“It is less about replacing human workers and more about augmenting and enabling them to make better decisions faster,” Hare said.

The survey also found that automating tasks is the second most important project type — named by 20% of respondents as their top motivator. Examples of automation include tasks such as invoicing and contract validation in finance or automated screening and robotic interviews in HR.

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And the top challenges to adopting AI for respondents were a lack of skills (56%), understanding AI use cases (42%), and concerns with data scope or quality (34%).

“Finding the right staff skills is a major concern whenever advanced technologies are involved,” said Hare.

“Skill gaps can be addressed using service providers, partnering with universities, and establishing training programs for existing employees. However, establishing a solid data management foundation is not something that you can improvise. Reliable data quality is critical for delivering accurate insights, building trust and reducing bias. Data readiness must be a top concern for all AI projects.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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