COVID-19 Is Not Slowing Artificial Intelligence Down


A recent Report on artificial intelligence (AI) suggests that COVID-19 is not likely to slow the path of AI. Per the report: nearly three-quarters of businesses now consider AI critical to their success, as it continues to grow in importance across companies of various sizes and industries, according to a new report. Appen Limited’s 2020 State of AI Report indicates that two-thirds of respondents do not expect any negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic on their AI strategies.

As more organizations focus on resilience, AI strategies become more important. State of AI ReportAs such, nearly half the companies surveyed have accelerated their AI strategies, with 20% doing so significantly, betting their AI projects will have a positive impact on this path towards resilience. However, given the importance of AI, almost half (49%) of respondents felt their organization is behind in their AI journey. A gap therefore exists between strategic need and ability to execute. The 2020 State of AI and Machine Learning Report is described as follows:

The 2020 State of AI and Machine Learning report illustrates the current state of artificial intelligence and machine learning, showcasing where the industry is as a whole in 2020 compared to 2019. The 2020 report is the output of a cross-industry, large-organization study of senior business leaders and technologists. It details where organizations are within the AI journey and provides a comprehensive look at how they are implementing AI within their business — from the types of data they leverage to the tools they use and budgets they have.

The report can be downloaded from the link above. All 100% of respondents who rolled out their initiatives globally identified ethics, governance, or risk management as a lens used when thinking about AI. Appen CTO Wilson Pang said this:  “Increasing investment in AI projects and greater involvement by the C-suite, along with accelerating enterprise adoption in the wake of COVID-19, are clear indicators that AI is coming of age as a core business driver for success.” Other findings include:

Executive visibility and involvement in AI have skyrocketed over 30% year-over-year, with 71% of organizations reporting C-suite involvement into AI projects. More than 23% of companies are investing more than $1 million in AI projects annually, and 8% are spending more than $5 million–double the number over last year. 82% of respondents are utilizing AI within their business. Three out of four organizations reported updating their AI models at least quarterly, signifying a continued focus on the model after deployment.

At the macro-level, the report said that: “in light of C-suite visibility gains, growing operations and budgets, as well as added focus on responsible AI, it appears companies are starting to find ways to make AI work in the real world, identifying productive use cases that enable them to scale, and leveraging more and more of the data that’s being produced every day. For everyone else still working to figure out the first steps, it is just a matter of time.”

Regarding AI, the answer to the COVID-19 accelerant or obstacle question based on these findings is accelerant – at least at this juncture. The need for resilience is providing the fuel.  Explore more about COVID-19 via these earlier posts.

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