As next-generation technologies flood the enterprise with promises of innovation, cost reduction, and improved productivity, one particular technology stands out among business leaders as having the biggest potential impact: Artificial intelligence (AI).
According to the 2018 Future Enterprise survey from Seyfarth Shaw LLP, released Tuesday, 62% of the business leaders surveyed said that automation and AI would have the biggest impact on their business's operations and processes over the next five years. Additionally, 21% said they believed it would impact their products and services, and 17% said it would impact the size and shape of their workforce.
Regarding the respondents, the report also noted that: "As a whole, they are less concerned about the impact of hiring and re-training that may result" from the introduction of AI and related tech. This is one of the most surprising pieces of information gleaned from the report, as the impact of AI on jobs has been widely debated.
SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
According to research firm Gartner, AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020, but will create 2.3 million more in the same time frame. Others have argued that AI may destroy more jobs than it creates, while 69% of executives in a 2017 Deloitte report said that AI won't kill jobs.
When it comes to overall changes in the workplace, 84% of respondents said they were hopeful about future changes—up from 70% last year. To continue growth, many leaders noted their focus on innovation. When asked, "Does your company have an innovation initiative, such as an innovation hub, lab, committee, or task force?", 48% said yes, and 52% said no.
That doesn't mean there won't be challenges, though, as 59% of business leaders said finding and keeping good employees was their biggest management challenge.
Another concern was cybersecurity breaches. According to the report, 45% said that cybersecurity would be their greatest challenge over the next five years.
While AI and automation were cited as having a big potential for impact, blockchain and cryptocurrency were not—only 27% said that distributed ledger technology (including blockchain) would have an impact on their business, with only 6% saying they currently used the technology. On the cryptocurrency front, only 2% of respondents said they were currently accepting payments via Bitcoin.
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- 62% of business leaders said automation and AI will have biggest impact on operations and business processes. — Seyfarth Shaw, 2018
- Only 6% of business leaders said their company currently uses a distributed ledger technology like blockchain. — Seyfarth Shaw, 2018
- How to implement AI and machine learning (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
- Cybersecurity: How to devise a winning strategy (ZDNet)
- Cheat sheet: How to become a cybersecurity pro (TechRepublic)
- Time to break open AI's black box, and keep it open (ZDNet)
- 57% of executives trust AI security systems 'as much or more than' humans (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.