As global AI race intensifies, US business leaders see China as biggest competitor, EY study finds 

Anca Alexe 14/06/2019 | 11:40

US business executives and leaders (85 percent) are optimistic about the success of adopting artificial intelligence (IA) in their companies and are planning to raise investments and trust in this technology, according to an EY study among 500 senior executives from the United States. 87 percent of them said their organization would invest in AI initiatives this year.

Internal and external difficulties with AI

Despite growing optimism, the problems related to AI both at the national and international levels could affect the US’s position in the global AI race, as China could take the lead.

More than half of respondents (52 percent) place the US in first place in the global AI race, and half of respondents (50 percent) have chosen the US as the country with the best long-term AI strategy. China ranked second, and 47 percent of respondents considered it the biggest obstacle to AI’s progress in the US.

Most respondents (80 percent) believe that the US is the country with the most open government to collaborate with companies to adopt artificial intelligence. 71 percent said they were in favor of a globally uniform regulation for artificial intelligence, highlighting the need for states to work together to develop basic rules for this technology.

“AI transforms companies for the better, and executives and boards see the impact the technology has on their companies’ financial performance. This goal for greater economic impact has led to a global race for the adoption, scaling and higher efficiency of the technology. While US leaders believe the US is leading this race, China is focusing on the goal of becoming the AI leader by 2030. The distance between the two countries is already lower than it seems and this aspiration is likely to become a reality. In order for the US to maintain a strong position, business leaders must advocate stronger education programs in terms of artificial intelligence, public-private collaboration, and pay special attention to the reliability and performance of this technology,” said Jeff Wong, Global Chief Innovation Officer at EY.

Company leaders trust AI, but employees tend to hold back

While executives are anxious to implement artificial intelligence and are optimistic about how it can improve their business, the study shows that employees are not as excited. According to respondents, employee confidence (33 percent) is one of the biggest obstacles to AI adoption, even if 87 percent of CEOs and business leaders have full or mid-level confidence in this technology.

To help employees be as optimistic about artificial intelligence, it is important for leaders to demonstrate the reliability, performance and security it can bring. These are key factors in building an organization’s trust in artificial intelligence.

Considering that 82 percent of respondents expect their business to be somewhat influenced by AI over the next three years, reliability and performance are of paramount importance. In addition, more than one in four respondents (29 percent) said that AI would affect more than half of their business, demonstrating how crucial it is for artificial intelligence to produce accurate and consistent results. In order to achieve the expected performance with this technology, companies need to understand, regulate, adjust and protect all components of the AI ​​system and systems around it.

“It’s important for employees to trust this technology and use it to its full potential. They must also understand the benefits of AI to ensure the success of large-scale deployment in any organization. Further, companies, government authorities, and academia have to build a path of success that includes solutions for the development of future employees with solid skills and training for existing workforce,” says Jeff Wong.

 

Photo: Stnazkul | Dreamstime.com

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