Infosys (NYSE: INFY), a global leader in consulting, technology, and next-generation services, has released a multinational research findings on artificial intelligence (AI) business impact, market maturity and expectations. The research report, ‘Amplifying Human Potential: Towards Purposeful Artificial Intelligence’, polled 1,600 senior business decision makers at large organizations across the world.
The report revealed a clear link between an organization’s revenue growth and its AI maturity: Organizations that reported faster growth in revenue over the past three years were also more likely to be further ahead when it comes to AI maturity. AI is perceived as a long-term strategic priority for innovation, with 76 per cent of the respondents citing AI as fundamental to the success of their organization’s strategy, and 64 per cent believing that their organization’s future growth is dependent on large-scale AI adoption.
While there are ethical and job related concerns – 62 per cent believe that stringent ethical standards are needed to ensure the success of AI – most respondents seem optimistic about redeploying displaced employees with higher value work. The majority, 85 per cent, plan to train employees on the benefits and use of AI, and 80 per cent of the companies replacing roles with AI technologies will retrain or redeploy displaced employees.
Sandeep Dadlani, President and Head of Americas, Infosys, said, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) adoption is on the rise and we are excited to see the investments in AI that businesses are gradually making to derive meaningful and creative change. The achievements are remarkable and the opportunities AI is bringing forth are vast. As we see AI mature and gain momentum, our research shows that the next four years will witness further spikes in interest, and general bullishness about the significant value and benefits that can be obtained through AI adoption. As an industry, therefore, we must take necessary steps to ensure AI is developed morally and ethically across every part of society and that employees are actively engaged and provided with the necessary training to be central to this journey.”
Key research findings:
Businesses expect noticeable AI adoption and growth by 2020: Organizations that have already deployed or have plans to deploy AI technologies expect to see a 39 per cent average increase in revenue by 2020, alongside a 37 per cent reduction in costs. As many as 76 per cent of IT and business decision makers see AI as pivotal to the success of their organization.
Businesses plan to invest in skills development: In 80 per cent of cases where companies are replacing roles with AI, organizations are redeploying or retraining staff to retain them in the business. Furthermore, 53 per cent are specifically investing in skills development. Organizations that have fewer AI-related skills are more likely to re-deploy workers impacted by AI adoption, whereas those with more AI-related skills are more likely to retrain employees, according to the study. The leading industries that plan to retain and retrain their workers are: fast-moving consumer goods (94 per cent); aerospace and automotive (87 per cent); energy, oil and gas (80 per cent); and pharmaceutical and life sciences (78 per cent). The research reveals that AI will cause greater investment in workforces, specifically in China (95 per cent), France (90 per cent), Germany (89 per cent), the UK (82 per cent), and the US (76 per cent).
Addressing ethical concerns is essential for AI success: Two-thirds of those surveyed have not fully considered the ethical issues related to AI, such as employee concerns about handing over control, and industry regulations. Further, 90 per cent say their organization’s employees face challenges or concerns with AI adoption, and 88 per cent report challenges or concerns from customers and suppliers. In total, 53 per cent agree that ethical concerns are a significant obstacle to effective application of AI technology.
- Market and Industry results show differences: Based on the responses, companies in India and China are much more likely to state that they are ahead of their industry competitors when it comes to AI use, followed by Germany, the US, UK, France. Fast moving consumer goods (57%) and telecoms (48%) are much more likely to report that they have already felt AI disrupting their sector. Pharmaceuticals and life sciences report the widest usage of AI technologies that are working according to their expectations, leading to the highest AI Maturity Index scores by industry.
- Businesses are at the start of their AI journey: Only one in ten respondents that have deployed AI technologies believe that their organization is fully maximizing the current available benefits and capabilities of AI. The majority (90 per cent) report that their organization’s employees face challenges or concerns relating to the adoption of AI. Around four in ten respondents believe that the time to implement, ease of use and the inter-operability with other systems and platforms are areas of AI that require the most improvement before it can be effective in their organization. There are also areas of AI adoption that need to be addressed with training, education and transparency in the workplace. Safety of data (43 per cent), job security (40 per cent) and pay rates (30 per cent) are the foremost areas of workforce concern despite the broadly positive outlook for AI adoption.
Other key research findings include:
- AI in action: Big data automation (65 per cent) and predictive/prescriptive analytics (54 per cent) are the primary AI applications today. On average, the companies surveyed have invested USD 6.7 million in AI in the last year, and have been actively using AI for an average of two years. The IT department is the leading adopter (69 per cent), followed by operations (34 per cent), business development (33 per cent), marketing (29 per cent) and commercial, sales and customer services (28 per cent).
- Risk and reward: 71 per cent agree the rise of AI in the workplace is inevitable, citing positive change for business prospects, employees and society. However, over half (51 per cent) admit that cost reduction is an area of AI that requires the most improvement before it can be effective for their organization.
- Deployment: 88 per cent also report that their organization’s customers and suppliers face challenges and concerns relating to the adoption of AI. Four in ten point to a lack of understanding of the benefits and intended uses for it, while 38 per cent flag a general mistrust of the technology. A similar number (37 per cent) indicated their preference to work alongside and interact with human workers rather than machines.
Overall, the study demonstrates the role AI can play in business growth, create opportunities for people to do more than what their current job and education enables, and drive long term macro environment benefits. Decision makers believe AI will bring out the best in their organization’s people (65 per cent), and feel it can deliver positive societal (70 per cent) and economic (76 per cent) change.
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