Business leaders are optimistic about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on job creation. However, they aver that there is a lack of talent to fill positions. EY and MIT Technology Review Insights recently polled 122 business leaders attending a conference in San Francisco to gather insights regarding the current state of AI adoption. The poll 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.
“While most organisations have embarked on their AI journey, the pace of adoption is bound to accelerate in 2018,” says Milan Sheth, partner, advisory services and technology sector leader, EY India. “The aspirational goal of AI is to take intelligence and put it into machines. To be successful, leaders will identify a business challenge and then determine where the technology can solve this problem.”
Sheth says that to be innovative, leaders will transform a traditional process/ industry by discovering new techniques and knowledge to find the answers that are not obvious. But all this can only be realided with the support of AI-savvy professionals who can identify AI opportunities and AI-implementation specialists who are deeply knowledgeable regarding the AI components, including ML, Data and other underlying technologies.
While organisations are increasingly implementing AI technologies, adoption plans are being hampered by a shortage of people with relevant skills, which may explain the proportion of organisations 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 programme, 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 and organisation, advisory services, EY India, says: “The Indian government and businesses recognise the need to close the technology skill gap and the urgent requirement to prepare the labour market for a future dominated by AI. To prepare the labour market for the future, it is necessary for the government to periodically undertake an economy-wide skill gap analysis, which will in turn support policy makers in preparing for the future by analysing the current capabilities of the labour 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/or develop new products/services (54%), achieve cost efficiencies and/or streamline business operations (50%) and accelerate decision-making (49%). Findings also showed that although organisations 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.