For decades, techguru have promised that machine learning tools and AI would change the world, making all systems smarter, faster and overall better — and for the most part, this has been true. AI, when implemented properly, does tend to improve the system it is designed for. Yet, a lingering problem is that most businesses don’t seem to be implementing AI properly.
Reports have found that between 20 and 30 percent of businesses have adopted AI tools in some form, many of them proud and enthusiastic about their use of this innovative and disruptive tech. Unfortunately, when researchers looked deeper into the business use of AI, they found that only 17 percent of the companies using AI were doing so “at scale.” Something is preventing business leaders from adopting bigger and better AI solutions — but what?
It Isn’t Lack of Awareness
It is tempting to blame the low proliferation of AI in business on a lack of awareness of the tech amongst business leaders, but research indicates that can’t be the cause. After all, implementation of AI tools in business has increased more than 270 percent over the past four years. AI is an exceedingly popular topic at conferences, in business journals and around water coolers; essentially, the executive who hasn’t heard of AI or considered utilizing an AI solution is either not plugged into typical sources of business news or fears change.
It Could Be Lack of Sophistication
Knowing about AI and understanding how to use AI are two different issues. While large, multinational corporations might have dozens of business leaders who can comprehend the intricacies of AI deployment, most small and midsize businesses operate on simple and straightforward tech — even Microsoft Excel and the like. How is a business leader supposed to integrate AI into such a rudimentary tech system?
AI is not a single business solution. Rather, it is a broad category of tech, some of which is useful in data-crunching for business benefit, and some of which is used in cutting-edge general machine intelligence. Trying to adopt a more sophisticated AI solution when one’s business system is built on basic programs would be like putting a car engine on a toddler’s trike — the technologies simply don’t fit.
The adoption of more sophisticated technology is a separate issue that depends largely on the unique circumstances of individual companies. For some business leaders, investing in more robust tech systems would be expensive and only marginally beneficial, while for others, advanced tech solutions could bring significant success. Regardless, understanding the general lack of sophistication within most businesses is key to understanding the slow proliferation of AI.
It Definitely Involves Fear
AI can be a scary concept to those who do not fully understand what the tech is or how it functions. Wrapped up in the cultural understanding of artificial intelligence are fears about robots stealing jobs or even taking over the world. Plenty of intelligent and hardworking people don’t like the idea of giving computers the ability to learn or an overabundance of data.
Fortunately, fears surrounding AI are already beginning to abate. Both business leaders and workforces seem to accept that the adoption of automated tools won’t spell the end of human labor; in fact, one study found that 87 percent of organizations that integrated AI planned to maintain or even increase their employee numbers in coming months.
It is important that business leaders commit to continued education, especially when it comes to tech that inspires feelings of trepidation. Taking an online AI course could help even the most tech-inexperienced business leader recognize that AI is not a threat and gain insight into how AI can boost business strategy and provide other noteworthy benefits.
Businesses tend to adopt tools they trust and understand — and AI doesn’t exactly fit into that category just yet. As the world of AI business solutions evolves and business professionals gain greater proficiency using automated and intelligent programs, we are more likely to see a larger number of businesses getting AI right. Until then, business leaders should strive to gain more education and improve their underlying systems, so they can eventually take full advantage of AI.
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