Four out of five executives across 13 different industries already invest in artificial intelligence (AI), and nearly 100% of those surveyed said they plan to do so by 2020, according to a new study from Indian outsourcing giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Even more encouraging is the fact that executives in 10 of the analyzed sectors said that they expect to ramp up the amount they are investing into a technology that is finally being adopted widely by the business world. Now in its second phase, the study, “Getting Smarter by the Sector: How 13 Industries Use Artificial Intelligence,” surveyed 835 executives in 13 industries.
Looking at investments made in 2015, the three highest-spending industries are insurance, consumer packaged goods, and and high tech. Looking to the future, the travel, transportation and hospitality industry (categorized as a single sector) plans to increase its spending the most. Though the executives surveyed in the study invested an average of just $4 million in 2015, they expect to lay out a $34 million by 2020.
The other industries that are expected to increase their spending on AI the most rapidly are media, entertainment, and information services (with 292% growth), industrial manufacturing (74%), healthcare (44%), and banking and finance (29%).
“All industries see AI technology as a major game-changer on their business competitiveness by 2020,” said K. Ananth Krishnan, chief technology officer of TCS. “It’s striking that the sectors making the boldest current or future AI investments and citing the most significant results seem to group around industries like insurance, travel, hospitality, and telecom — where disruption is having a major impact — and consumer-focused sectors, such as the consumer packaged goods industry, where the customer experience can be significantly enhanced by AI innovation.”
Executives are not worry-free about moving into the AI era, however. Most of those surveyed have expressed concern about the security implications of the technology. Those in highly regulated industries like banking and telecommunications are especially worried about realizing the potential benefits without introducing unnecessary security risks.
“Effectively managing the security risk of AI systems is of paramount importance for the majority of industries, with companies in the automotive, banking and financial services, consumer packaged goods, technology, industrial manufacturing, and telecoms industries all stating this as the number-one success factor to derive real value from AI.”
On the other hand, the largest public fear usually associated with AI and automation is not seen as a large concern. In fact, some sectors believe that AI will lead to more jobs, not less, which aligns with previously reported findings from the earlier phase of TCS’ research.
“In almost all sectors, addressing people’s fears about losing their jobs was not ranked as a major barrier,” stated TCS in a summary of the report. “This was underlined in phase one of the Global Trend Study released in March this year, which found companies with the biggest revenue and cost improvements from AI see the need for at least three times as many new jobs in each function by 2020 because of cognitive computing innovations.”
This is the case in both high-adopting industries like technology and finance as well as less-discussed applications such as those in the world of publishing. “We are using the technology to add value, not to replace humans with robots,” Jim Kennedy of the Associated Press told TCS for its study.
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