Artificial intelligence may not be well enough understood by executives for organisations to extract value from the new technology. The findings of a survey of business attitudes towards AI suggest this is the case.
Almost three in ten (29%) business executives would not be able to apply AI to a relevant use case in their organisation and said they have no idea where to apply AI to their business process. This is one of the findings from a recent survey by technology consultancy 6point6 which included qualitative research.
"We don’t feel human knowledge could be replicated by AI."
This showed that some executives feel the essential processes of their business cannot be automated. A chief executive in the education sector said: “The key strength of our company is in the human knowledge of our membership base, which we don’t feel could be replicated by AI.”
Nearly one in five respondents are sceptical about the benefits of AI projects to their organisation as 19% of executive said they are unsure as to whether any investment in AI projects will return tangible benefits. Furthermore, of those who are vaguely aware of AI and have deployed at least one AI project in the last five years, 86% said those projects at best, had a neutral impact on the business.
This finding is noteworthy considering just under half of respondents (49%) have deployed an AI project in the last five years. This may suggest that some past AI projects did not deliver a clear return on investment, leading executives to be cautious about future deployment. It should also be noted that these past projects are up to five years old so advancements in AI technology may mean that there would be greater efficiency in and more value delivered if an old AI project were to be repeated.
Just over a quarter (26%) said that a key barrier to implementing AI across the organisation is the lack of internal knowledge and 18% of executives cited the inability to find available talent in data science. This dearth of internal talent and difficulty in recruiting external talent may be part of the reason data science teams are so small amongst the executives questioned with 54% saying they had fewer than 10 people dedicated to AI development in the entire business.
Despite all of this pessimism, there is still some readiness and appetite for AI projects among business executives with 39% saying they have a strategy in place for deployment.
6point6 in partnership with YouGov commissioned a survey of 1,000 senior decisions makers including owners, partners, chairpersons, and non-executive directors working both in the public and private sectors.