How to encourage AI adoption: 3 tips

Despite the popularity of AI in the enterprise, half of consumers are fearful toward the tech, according to a recent Blumberg Capital report.

​AI specialists: The future is bright As more companies use artificial intelligence and related tech, the need for AI specialists continues to increase. Experts also discuss the fear that AI will eliminate jobs for humans.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is flooding the enterprise, and will continue to in the future, according to Blumberg Capital's recent Artificial Intelligence in 2019: Getting past the adoption tipping point report. The global AI market is projected to be worth approximately $118.6 billion by 2025, and nearly half of companies currently have AI embedded into business functions. 

SEE: Artificial intelligence: A business leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Despite AI's popularity in organizations, consumer sentiments surrounding AI aren't all positive, the report found. The majority of consumers aren't even aware of how much they currently use AI, with only 5% of respondents saying they think the majority of the services they use daily are powered by AI. 

"This report reveals that society is currently at a tipping point when it comes to adoption of AI. Half of consumers feel optimistic and informed about AI, and the other half feel fearful," David Blumberg, Blumberg Capital's founder and managing partner, told TechRepublic. "Data shows that nearly half of companies already use AI in their customer-facing applications, indicating that AI is currently experiencing an enterprise renaissance, yet 74% of consumers don't believe they interact with AI at least once a day."

Most consumers (58%) receive their information about AI from entertainment sources—movies, television, or social media—which give them an inaccurate representation of how they would use and benefit from the technology on a daily basis, the report found. 

Consumers are also apprehensive about how AI will affect their job security: Nearly half (49%) of consumers said they feel AI has already replaced job positions. Because of this notion, only 19% of consumers said they want to pass along their drudge work to automation, according to the report. 

"Because of its power and applications, technology companies must increase transparency and education of AI in order to flip the script and change the overarching narrative on the topic," Blumberg said. "According to recent research by Accenture, the impact of AI and big data on business is projected to increase labor productivity by 40% and enable workers to make more efficient use of their time."

How to change the narrative 

AI will undoubtedly have many positive impacts on the enterprise; however, consumer and employee support and confidence in AI is crucial to its success. Blumberg identified the following three ways tech companies can encourage AI adoption. 

1. Adopt the AI for good model, and promote this message. Companies must share how AI can be used to improve lives—whether it's to save a life from natural disasters, or from terrorist attacks, or by preventing a heart attack—in order to change the perception of AI in the minds of the public. Tech companies have a civic responsibility to continue to develop these applications of AI, and it is certainly in their best interest to do so.

2. Promote AI models that are transparent and explainable with appropriate documentation. This allows for decisions to be interpretable, limits bias, and opens organizations to external vetting. AI doesn't need to be in a black box.

3. Combating fear of the unknown. Show that AI is already all around us—for instance, when LinkedIn suggests job openings that are a perfect fit both for prospective employee and employer, or Google Maps calculates a faster route on the daily commute.

For more, check out Digital transformation and AI adoption: 5 lessons from senior leaders on TechRepublic. 

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By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.