92% of tech insiders have a strong appetite for AI

A new KPMG study asked industry insiders about the future of AI, how they're maximizing its benefits and mitigating its challenges.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) hasn't been fully realized for its business potential, agree 751 business insiders across five industries in KPMG's new study, "Living in an AI World 2020: Achievements and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence across Five Industries." 

Insiders who participated were from the following industries:

  • Retail
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Technology

Technologists are confident: 87% of tech respondents said their industry is ahead of the curve in AI adoption, and 81% believe their employees are open to AI integration into the workplace. 

Pretty much everyone (92%) is clear that the spectrum of AI technologies will make their companies run more efficiently. 

Tech's ahead

Unsurprisingly, when the other four industries were surveyed, they agreed (83%) that technology is the most advanced sector in using AI. Technology insiders (62%) believe AI adoption is moving within the industry at an appropriate speed, but the majority (73%) want their company to be even more aggressive in AI investment and adoption, notably in the area of organizational improvement. 

The technology industry is ahead of the curve in AI deployments and effectiveness, and "companies are evolving and molding themselves in the digital space,"  said Sreekar Krishna, KPMG principal, innovation and enterprise solutions, in the study. "Those embedding AI and other forms of digitization into every process and functionality are disrupting the competition." 

End of the queue

The companies which "lag," he said, "have been slow to digitize overall. The first step to AI maturity is to go through the digitization process across the enterprise," Krishna explained. "Those with big legacy technology infrastructures that have been hesitant to invest are being left behind." 

Most impactful

There is agreement, too, amongst technology respondents (59%), that machine learning will have the greatest overall impact on the industry, followed by deep learning and facial recognition. Respondents also believe that in the next two years, the most impactful AI tech will be: 

  • Machine learning (28%)
  • Cognitive computing (19%)
  • Robotics (18%) 

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AI adoption within the technology industry 

Clearly, AI has the popularity and growth, but survey respondents are wary of what they consider significant challenges, like the gap in skilled talent. Although 61% believe existing employees are prepared for AI adoption, they need more workers ready for AI, and improvements must be made, such as how AI will be integrated. 

While the aforementioned 81% of tech insiders believe employers are open to the integration of AI in the workplace, a significant number (70%) also believe employees have concerns about how it will be applied, and specifically, the impact it will have on their own jobs. More than a third of the tech industry (37%) worry they could be replaced by AI. 

Security concerns and big brother

The business insiders have ongoing concerns with security and data privacy, and most respondents (69%) are in favor of some level of government involvement in AI. Many organizations are poised for that push. Ethics are an issue that can't be ignored, either, and 88% of the tech insiders say companies need to implement an AI ethics policy to help govern AI work.

There are some barriers to furthering the adoption of AI, but business insiders vow to move even more aggressively with investments, training, and governance to ensure that significant AI benefits are fully optimized. 

Go for the best, better than the rest

Companies must invest heavily in top-tier talent to attract how many experts will be needed, Krishna said. "To become a powerhouse in AI, you need to show the world you're serious about it," he said. "By recruiting top minds in AI, more talent will be attracted to your company." 

Methodology 

The KPMG Living in an AI World 2020: Achievements and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence across Five Industries survey was conducted by Ketchum Analytics to support KPMG's thought leadership efforts on AI. The findings in this report are based on the results from a survey of 751 U.S. business decision-makers with at least a moderate knowledge of AI in their industry. 

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