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Survey: 59% of AI Early Adopters Accelerating Its Use, But 40% Lag Behind

According to IBM's 2023 AI Adoption Index survey of enterprise-scale companies worldwide, about the same number (42%) adopted AI early on as those who are still exploring or experimenting with it (40%). But of those who adopted AI early, 59% are accelerating their use or investment in it.

The survey was conducted in November 2023 of 8,584 IT professionals in 20 countries across the globe. Those who adopted AI early on are actively using it in their businesses and are intending to increase their investment in the technology, the survey found, having overcome challenges such as finding qualified employees, handling complex data, and navigating ethical concerns.

But these are the same challenges holding 40% of the respondents back, the survey found.

Countries with the highest use of active AI businesses (averaging 54%) are India, UAE, and Singapore. Data also indicate that financial services and telecommunications companies are most likely to be actively deploying AI.

Countries with businesses lagging or still exploring and experimenting with AI (averaging 28%) are Spain, France, and Australia.

United States businesses fall between 30% and 40% both in actively using AI and lagging behind with it.

China, India, and UAE businesses are most likely to accelerate their rollouts (averaging 77%), while businesses in the UK, Canada, and Australia (averaging 38%) are least likely to, the survey found.

The survey revealed the reasons for active use and rollout of AI are:

  • More accessible AI tools due to advances;
  • Cost reduction and process automation; and
  • Off-the-shelf products containing already embedded AI.

The top barriers to adopting or accelerating AI use are:

  • Limited AI skills and expertise;
  • Overwhelming data complexity;
  • Ethical concerns;
  • Difficult to scale and integrate AI projects;
  • High cost; and
  • Lack of AI model development tools.

In addition, the survey found that generative AI poses a different set of problems for business lagging behind in AI adoption, such as data privacy, trust and transparency, and lack of generative AI implementation skills.

The survey also looks at what is driving AI adoption among businesses and the impact AI is having on the workforce, from lack of skills to attain jobs in AI, reduction in force at companies where AI is replacing jobs, and lack of training or reskilling employees to work with AI and other new technology.

To read the full survey results, visit IBM's interactive multimedia news release.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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