Business leaders are optimistic about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on job creation, according to a poll by EY conducted at the EmTech Digital Conference, produced by MIT Technology Review Insights. The poll of 122 global business leaders found that, although AI is expected to reshape the traditional workplace, more than half (52%) of respondents believe it will have a positive impact on job creation. In fact, about a third (32%) of respondents say that, with the implementation of AI, more jobs will be created than lost, and an additional 20% anticipate that AI will create a surge in new jobs, boosting the economy.
Milan Sheth, Partner, Advisory Services and Technology Sector Leader, EY India, feels that most organizations have embarked on their AI journey but the pace of adoption is bound to accelerate in 2018.
He said, “The aspirational goal of AI is to take intelligence and put it into machines.” Sheth pointed out that to be successful and innovative the leaders need to transform a traditional process/industry by discovering new techniques and knowledge to find the answers that are not obvious.
Primary concern: Talent gap
While organizations are increasingly implementing AI technologies, adoption plans are being hampered by a shortage of people with relevant skills, which may explain the proportion of organizations applying AI for purely functional capabilities. Indeed, a shortage of requisite talent to drive AI adoption is the top challenge to an enterprise-wide AI program, according to 80% of respondents, followed by a lack of integration of AI insights into current business processes (53%), a lack of managerial understanding and sponsorship (48%), and data used for AI not being trusted or of high quality (48%).
Anurag Malik, Partner - People & Organization, Advisory Services, EY India, feels that the government needs to close the technology skill gap and preparing the labor market for AI is the top priority.
He said, "To prepare the labor market for the future, it is necessary for the Government to periodically undertake an economy-wide skill gap analysis, which will, in turn, support policymakers in preparing for the future by analyzing the current capabilities of the labor market and the skills it will need to achieve to survive the impact of technology.”
The poll found that the top three outcomes that business leaders want from AI are to improve and develop new products/services (54%), achieve cost efficiencies and/or streamline business operations (50%) and accelerate decision-making (49%). Findings also showed that although organizations are seeing how AI can help them succeed, more than half (52%) are not clearly defining business outcomes or key performance indicators (KPIs) related to AI. Instead, they are primarily focusing on piloting and learning.
Organizations lack scalable, enterprise-level AI strategy
While 30% of business leaders say their organizations have functional AI capabilities and are piloting the technology within corporate functions, they still need an enterprise-wide AI strategy that aligns with these programs. Only 21% of respondents’ organizations are making progress in securing C-suite support and rolling out a strategy for applying AI, while another 28% say their organizations have limited to no capabilities, and the technology is not regarded as a strategic, overall priority.