What is the state-of-AI in January 2019? Recent surveys show increased adoption of AI, some measurable impact, people-related challenges for enterprises trying to implement AI, and lots of issues related to data, the lifeblood of AI: what role does data play in the lives of organizations, how secure they keep it and their policies regarding data privacy.Moreover, the general public is still not sure if AI is good or bad for humanity and that may play an important role in the speed of its adoption as a business tool.
Current and future AI adoption: Steadily increasing
- 92% are increasing their pace of investment in big data and AI and 62% have already seen measurable results (NewVantage).
- 36% say that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have played a significant role in their organization’s digital strategy and 45% regard AI/ML as the most important technology to play a significant role in their organization’s digital strategy three years from now (EIU).
- 28% of retailers are deploying AI today, up from 17% in 2017 and 4% in 2016 (Capgemini).
- 73% have implemented security products that incorporate at least some aspect of AI but 25% do not plan to implement additional AI-enabled security solutions in the future (Osterman).
- 22% are applying advanced analytics and AI to predict cyber-intrusion risks (SMR).
- 86% explored machine-learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to cybersecurity (Radware).
- Only 7% apply machine learning and artificial intelligence in decision-making or production workflows (SMR).
Some evidence and a lot of expectations for positive impact of AI
- 98% of retailers using AI in customer-facing functions expect the number of customer complaints to be reduced by up to 15%, while 99% expect AI to increase sales by up to 15% (Capgemini).
- 71% of retailers say AI is creating jobs today, with 68% of the jobs being at a senior level; 75% report that AI has not replaced any jobs in their organization so far (Capgemini).
- 48% point to quicker response times and better security as primary drivers to explore ML-based solutions to cybersecurity (Radware).
Challenges in AI implementation are more about people than technology
- 77% say that “business adoption” of big data and AI initiatives continues to represent a challenge for their organizations. Executives cite multiple factors (organizational alignment, agility, resistance), with 95% stemming from cultural challenges (people and process), and only 5% relating to technology (NewVantage).
- While 76% report they have increased access to data they judge useful, only 43% feel they frequently have the right data needed to make decisions (SMR).
- AI-based cybersecurity products deliver inaccurate results (54%), are difficult to use (42%), and are more expensive than traditional ones (71%) (Osterman).
Attitudes about data are crucial for successful AI adoption
- Only 21% report formal approaches to data quality (routinely monitoring, managing, and improving data quality as part of a formal data governance effort) while 42% report informal approaches (individuals who produce or use data reactively correct for accuracy, consistency, timeliness, and completeness) (SMR).
- Only 31% say their organizations are data-driven, down from 37.1% in 2017 and 32.4% in 2018 (NewVantage).
- Only 17% of business leaders always incorporate data and analytics in decision-making and 16% regularly assess data literacy of the workforce (SMR).
Data privacy is about communicating with the people whose data you collect
- 74% of Facebook users say they did not know about the platform’s list of their interests; 59% say the list very (13%) or somewhat (46%) accurately reflects their interests, while 27% say the list not very (22%) or not at all accurately (5%) represents them; 51% say they are not very or not at all comfortable with Facebook creating this list about their interests and traits (Pew).
- 41% notify customers how they collect, use, and share their information, and have internal controls over how employees use the data, 20% notify customers how they collect, use, and share their information but don’t have internal controls, 25% have implemented data privacy measures but have not yet communicated them externally, and 14% say that it’s not an issue they are concerned with (SMR).
Investing in data security should come before investing in AI
- The initial costs attributable to a cyberattack have increased 52% in 2018 over 2017 (Radware) and business threats increased by 79% (Malwarebytes).
- 44% have a response plan in place in case of data breach, 47% track where all data is stored, 43% keep updated list of sensitive data types collected, and 44% train all employees in IT security risks and practices (SMR).
Public attitudes and understanding of AI will probably influence its adoption
- 41% of Americans somewhat support or strongly support the development of AI, while 22% somewhat or strongly opposes it (Oxford).
- 82% of Americans believe that robots and/or AI should be carefully managed (Oxford).
- 31% of Americans support developing high-level machine intelligence (i.e., machines are able to perform almost all tasks that are economically relevant today better than the median human), while 27% oppose its development (Oxford).
- 63% of experts are hopeful that most individuals will be mostly better off because of AI in 2030 (i.e., AI and related technology systems will enhance human capacities and empower them) and 37% predict people will not be better off (i.e., AI will lessen human autonomy and agency) (Pew).
NewVantage Partners 7th annual survey of senior corporate executives on the topics of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Capgemini survey of how retailers worldwide are implementing AI.
Sloan Management Review (SMR) and SAS worldwide survey of business executives.
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and DXC survey of senior executives about their organizations’ digital transformation.
Osterman Research and ProtectWise survey of U.S. cyber security analysts in large organizations.
Radware Global Application and Network Security Report, a worldwide survey of IT executives.
Malwarebytes State of Malware Report, analyzing top malware threats in 2018 and 2017.
University of Oxford, Center for the Governance of AI, Artificial Intelligence: American Attitudes and Trends, a survey of US adults.
Pew Research Center, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans, a survey of technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists.
Pew Research Center, Facebook Algorithms and Personal Data, a survey of American Facebook users.
This article was originally published on Forbes.com and was republished on the Attunity blog with permission from the author.
About the Author
Gil Press is the Managing Partner at gPress, a marketing, publishing, research and education consultancy. Prior to gPress, he held senior marketing and research management positions at NORC, DEC and EMC. Most recently, he was Senior Director, Thought Leadership Marketing at EMC, where he launched the Big Data conversation with the “How Much Information?” study (2000 with UC Berkeley) and the Digital Universe study (2007 with IDC). Gil is a regular contributor to Forbes and he blogs on his own sites: What’s the Big Data? And The Story of Information. Follow Gil on Twitter @GilPress