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Gartner lifts the lid on barriers to AI adoption

Read time 3min 10sec
Brian Manusama, senior director analyst at Gartner.
Brian Manusama, senior director analyst at Gartner.

Research and advisory firm Gartner has highlighted three barriers to the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), listing skills, fear of the unknown and the full data scope of AI as the main challenges.   

The pace of the technological revolution has, in some instances, been met with resistance, with fears AI will displace more jobs than it creates.

In SA, for example, “The Mobile Corporation in SA 2019” report showed the majority of local manufacturers are falling behind the curve in the adoption of high-speed, reliable Internet connectivity, hampering their ability to implement AI, machine learning and Internet of things.

This year’s PwC Global CEO Survey revealed South African CEOs have no current plans to pursue AI, even though 90% believe it will significantly change the way of doing business in the next five years.

Gartner has found skills to be the number one barrier to the adoption of AI, with business and IT leaders acknowledging AI will change the skills needed to accomplish AI jobs.

According to a Gartner research circle survey, 56% of respondents said acquiring new skills will be required to do both existing and newly created jobs.

In addition, Gartner’s 2019 CIO agenda survey indicated more organisations are adopting AI. Fourteen percent of global CIOs have already deployed AI and 48% will deploy it in 2019 or by 2020.

“While adoption is increasing, some organisations are still questioning the business impact and benefits. Today, we witness three barriers to the adoption of AI,” says Brian Manusama, senior director analyst at Gartner.

The research and advisory firm says today, AI can evaluate X-rays like human radiologists. “As this technology advances beyond research settings, radiologists will shift their focus to consulting with other physicians on diagnosis and treatment, treating diseases, performing image-guided medical interventions, and discussing procedures and results with patients.”

The second top challenge, according to Gartner, is the fear of the unknown.

Forty-two percent of respondents don’t fully understand AI benefits and use in the workplace.

“Quantifying the benefits of AI projects poses a major challenge for business and IT leaders. While some benefits could be well-defined values, such as revenue increase or time saved, others, such as customer experience, are difficult to define precisely or to measure accurately.

“Success depends on considering both tangible and intangible benefits, and determining how to meaningfully quantify them.”

Gartner forecasts that by 2024, 50% of AI investments will be quantified and linked to specific key performance indicators to measure return on investment.

Barrier number three is the full data scope or the data quality derived from AI, indicates Gartner.

It explains: “Successful AI initiatives depend on a large volume of data from which organisations can draw information about the best response to a situation. Organisations are aware that without sufficient data – or if the situation encountered does not match past data – AI falters. Others know that the more complex the situation, the more likely the situation will not match the AI’s existing data, leading to AI failures.

“The more organisations implement AI, the more jobs it creates and these jobs will fall into two categories – jobs directly related to implementing and developing AI within the organisation, and jobs created by the opportunities for scale that AI provides.”

According to Gartner estimates, by 2020, AI will become a net-positive job motivator, eliminating 1.8 million jobs while creating 2.3 million jobs.    

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