Very encouraging and interesting highlights on the adoption of AI in this 2018 Artificial Intelligence Global Executive Study and Research Report from MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group.(1)

  • Overall, the second annual MIT Sloan Management Review-BCG research report tells a story of measurable benefits from current AI initiatives, increased investments, and determined efforts to expand AI across the enterprise.
  • In this global survey of 3,076 business executives, 91% of survey respondents expect new business value from AI implementations in the coming five years. This is especially true for leading adopters of AI. — just under 20% of all respondents.
    • Note: The total survey population was divided into four subgroups based on the relative AI maturity of respondents’ organizations, combining levels of understanding of AI tools and concepts and levels of adoption of AI applications.
  • Understanding and Adoption of AI varies greatly
    • Half (51%) of organizations have demonstrated understanding of AI and are taking action.
      • 18% have adopted AI – Pioneers
      • 33% are piloting programs – Investigators
    • 16% are piloting or adopting AI without deep understanding. These organizations are learning by doing – Experimenters
    • 33% have no adoption or much understanding of AI – Passives
  • “Pioneers” are profiled more extensively
    • Deepening their commitments to AI
    • Eager to scale AI throughout their enterprise
    • Prioritize revenue-generating applications over cost-saving ones
    • AI requires strategy – Pioneers recognize the need as urgent and have one in place
  • AI is creating both fear and hope among workers
    • This survey echoes the ambivalence: 47% say their workforce will be reduced because of AI in the next five years.
      • Lower-level operational and clerical workers are most concerned that layoffs are imminent.
      • Chief executives are among those least convinced AI adoption will result in more overall job loss. Only 38% of surveyed CEOs expect workforce reductions due to AI.
  • China’s Big Push Into AI
    • This team conducted a separate survey same time period with 300 executives in China.
    • Key takeaways:
      • Chinese companies are aggressively investing in AI business applications relative to their counterparts in other parts of the world.
      • Chinese companies face their own challenges in their ambitious push into AI. For example, nearly half of Chinese Pioneers say the business case for AI is unclear or missing — a potential impediment to determining appropriate levels of investment. The barrier Chinese Pioneers report most often is a lack of talent in AI.
      • China’s rapid rise in AI has been a wake-up call for nations, industries, and corporate executives globally

Note (1) S. Ransbotham, P. Gerbert, M. Reeves, D. Kiron, and M. Spira, “Artificial Intelligence in Business Gets Real,” MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group, September 2018.

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