Numerous studies concerning the adoption of AI have repeatedly emphasised a common challenge: it can be both tricky and expensive to implement. As a result, many businesses who intend to leverage the benefits of this futuristic technology are opting out due to low perceived returns on investment (ROI) in comparison to the costs involved.
In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, a change in opinions towards AI has been reported. The findings of the poll shed a positive light on the potential of this cutting-edge technology for commercial purposes in the short and medium-term. A staggering 75% of the CEOs surveyed expressed their optimism that AI will be incorporated into workplace applications within the next three years, thereby underscoring the growing significance of AI in the corporate world.
There has been a recent shift in the strategic focus of business leaders towards machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing (NLP), and computer vision. This shift implies that significant advancements are on the horizon in these areas. It is worth examining the reason for this shift and whether it indicates that the value of AI systems is becoming more appreciated, despite their non-availability. Is there a more profound implication behind this shift in focus?
Let’s explore all the available options.
Advancing or Not Advancing
The outcomes of the survey indicate that business leaders anticipate a more significant integration of AI in their daily workflows, attributed to the widespread availability of off-the-shelf AI solutions. Roughly 50% of the respondents who took part in the Deloitte survey indicated their intention to either “acquire everything” or “procure more than build” AI solutions. This data covers businesses of various sizes, from burgeoning startups to large multinational organizations, all eager to leverage the various manifestations of AI technology.
We anticipate that Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS) will be one of the primary areas of advancement to keep an eye on in 2018. The rationale behind this prediction is that AIaaS can equip businesses with the vital tools to create personalized AI-driven solutions that match their particular needs. This approach could be highly beneficial for businesses of all sizes as it would minimise the need to source and hire scarce resources such as data scientists and AI engineers.
Although opting to “purchase rather than build” AI solutions is a more pragmatic approach, there are still challenges to be faced. This path demands a specialised skill set to comprehend and piece together. Given the availability of AI-based solutions, businesses must pay close attention to offerings that could provide them with a competitive edge. However, not everyone may possess the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision, thereby requiring the assistance of AI experts who can identify the optimal AI solutions and integrate them into their business operations. Developing an internal quality assurance system can help businesses enhance their decision-making capabilities in this regard.
When contemplating between buying or building AI solutions, it is vital to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages. Selecting this route can restrict companies to the services provided by Artificial Intelligence (AI) vendors. Prominent AI-as-a-Service providers such as IBM and Google are already furnishing custom-made premium solutions to cater to businesses’ AI demands. Nevertheless, the range of services available is still somewhat restricted.
Presently, AI solutions are enabling businesses to enhance their data architecture and automate repetitive tasks. These solutions are empowering an increasing number of enterprises, thereby highlighting the need for the development of more personalised AI solutions, particularly for companies seeking to gain a competitive edge through AI integration.
In light of the broad adoption of AI in all sectors, development is not entirely ruled out, but rather deferred for the time being.
A Less Complex yet Challenging Approach to Implementing AI
Before making any inferences regarding the future of AI, two factors must be taken into consideration. Firstly, the survey was conducted pre-pandemic and as such, the results may not fully reflect the current situation. Consequently, the data should be viewed as a red flag for impending events.
Business leaders seem to hold the notion that AI adoption is no longer as challenging as it used to be. Despite this, a recent poll reveals that 56% of employees are still restricting the use of AI due to security concerns, thereby suggesting that its implementation is not entirely devoid of risks.
This statistic is of paramount importance as it serves as a reminder that despite its relative ease of technical deployment, Artificial Intelligence still poses many challenges. Furthermore, this does not factor in the requirement for expert AI implementation, potential cybersecurity breaches, the necessity for compliance with data privacy regulations, and the evolving nature of these regulations.
The advancements made thus far signify that introducing AI is now less complicated than it was a year ago and in previous years. Although, AI is still in its infancy within the business sphere, and there is much ground to cover. Companies are slowly but surely acknowledging the value of AI and modifying their operations and goals to incorporate it.
It is evident that this survey was conducted in December 2023, and as such, the respondents’ attitudes were shaped in an environment that did not account for the existing economic crisis or the international ramifications of the pandemic. As a result, plans to adopt AI that could aid companies in enhancing their operations may be postponed, with organisations concentrating on simply staying afloat.
It is apparent that a thoughtful approach is required when discussing the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The current year has presented exceptional challenges, and thus several factors must be considered before drawing a conclusion. While new technology has made AI more readily available, this does not guarantee a considerable increase in its use. I envisage that this marks the commencement of a trend that will eventually become routine in the business world, but it will require time to do so.