Is Investment in AI More of A Gold Rush Than a Carefully Plotted Journey?

According to a new report, 82% of firms pressing ahead with investment in AI despite 50% being unclear on its business impact or how to implement it.

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  • [Image source: Krishna Prasad/MITSMR Middle East]

    In search of potential benefits, including automating repetitive tasks, enhanced data analytics, reduced human error, and better and faster decision-making, businesses are increasingly looking to take advantage of the latest AI tools. 

    The problem is that barriers to AI adoption abound, and companies continue to ramp up investment in AI despite being unclear on its business impact or how to implement it. 

    Research from Orgvue shows that 82% of organizations have already invested, with another 33% saying they will increase this by more than 50% in the coming year.

    Based on an international survey of 1,000 C-suite and senior decision makers at medium and large organizations, the report, Human-first, Machine Enhanced: The Role of AI in Workforce Transformation, highlights contradictions in the business community concerning technology investment and AI’s impact on the workforce.

    On the one hand, 61% of respondents said they expect AI to replace people in their organization, with 69% saying they think AI will be the main driver of workforce transformation over the next three years. On the other hand, 48% are unsure how they will manage AI developments to optimize technology use.

    “Organizations are beginning to realize that the practicalities of embedding AI into core business operations are far from simple. There’s a dichotomy between the need for business leaders to prepare for AI entering the workforce, their desire for change, and the organization’s ability to make this transformation a reality,” said Oliver Shaw, CEO of Orgvue.

    He added that this gap in thinking stems from a lack of clarity on how AI will impact the business and the workforce. “Our research indicates spending has been more of a gold rush than a carefully plotted journey. This will make managing the transformation all the harder.”

    Business leaders are excited about AI’s potential for growth and productivity (79%), but 70% said they are responsible for protecting their workforce from redundancies before adopting AI, and 78% think human intervention is critical to preventing negative outcomes from AI. For this reason, 80% plan to reskill employees to use AI in the workplace.

    Similarly, 78% want governments to introduce stricter rules and regulations, 54% believe regulation has yet to keep pace with investment in AI, and 70% say AI should be regulated immediately.

    “Whether it’s optimism or naivety, CEOs are confident AI will solve their business challenges. But the data shows that divisional leaders are less convinced by the impact of AI, with a pronounced skepticism at this level of the value AI can bring to the business and how quickly it can be embedded into everyday operations,” Shaw added. 

    “This is a dangerous position for organizations to find themselves in. A disconnect in perspective – between those at the top and those responsible for delivery – will ultimately derail any long-term plans for business change.”

    To achieve their AI ambitions, CEOs should arm themselves with a better understanding of how AI will truly impact the work their people do today, the skills their organization has, and how this may change over time.

    Keen to know how emerging technologies will impact your industry? MIT SMR Middle East will be hosting the second edition of NextTech Summit.



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