Deloitte’s second State of the AI in the Enterprise report, which surveyed over 1,100 IT employees and executives from US companies, suggests that companies are ramping up their investments in artificial intelligence technologies, according to VentureBeat.

The report breaks down AI adoption into four categories: machine learning (the ability of statistical models to develop capabilities and autonomously improve performance over time), deep learning (a form of machine learning involving neural networks), natural language processing (the ability to parse meaning from text) and computer vision (techniques that extract intent out of visual elements).

Natural language processing outstripped all other categories in terms of growth, according to the survey, with 62 percent of companies reporting having adopted it (up from 53 percent a year ago). Machine learning came in second with 58 percent (up 5 percent year-over-year), and computer vision and deep learning followed close behind with 57 percent and 50 percent adoption (a 16 percent increase from 2017), respectively.

About 37 percent of executives said that their companies have set aside $5 million or more for “cognitive” technologies like deep learning and machine learning, including enterprise software with AI included. And 55 percent said they’d launched six or more pilots (up from 35 percent a year ago), with 58 percent claiming they’d undertaken six or more full implementations (up 32 percent).

AI-as-a-service solutions had an annual global growth of 48.2 percent, and 42 percent of executives surveyed believe that adopting AI will be of “critical strategic importance” within the next two years.

More than 80 percent said their AI investments resulted in a financial return, particularly in the technology, professional services, and media and entertainment/telecommunications sectors. For example, Netflix found that if its customers search for a movie for 90 seconds, they give up. But by using AI to improve search results, it was able to save about $1 billion in potential lost revenue.

Other cost savings might come from job cuts. A majority of those surveyed — 63 percent — expect that AI will automate tasks currently overseen by human workers. That said, 78 percent contend that that cognitive technologies will empower people to make better decisions, and 72 percent and 78 percent said it’ll increase job satisfaction and “fuel new ways of working,” respectively.

Concerns

Despite growing enthusiasm, executives responding to the Deloitte survey also expressed reservations about AI.

Over 20 percent of respondents ranked “cybersecurity vulnerabilities” as a key concern, while 43 percent placed “making the wrong strategic decisions based on AI/cognitive recommendations” in the top three concerns. About 39 percent said they were worried about AI failure in a mission-critical or life-and-death situation.

One in ten said they had a high degree of anxiety about the legal and regulatory risks associated with AI systems, and a third cited ethical risks – such as the power of AI to create/spread false information.

 

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