Why artificial intelligence no longer scares businesses… and employees

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The adoption of artificial intelligence in companies has accelerated with the Covid-19 pandemic. But has Epinal’s image really disappeared around this technology, which is close to a sci-fi movie?

Feared just 10 years ago as the grim reaper for millions of jobs around the world, the perception of artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved significantly in recent years. On the contrary, more and more companies consider it as a tool to support employees in their daily lives.

With natural language processing, image recognition and machine learning (machine From where deep learning), there seems to be a benefit to automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks for employees so they can focus on more creative work. And by focusing on higher value-added jobs, these employees enable their organization to be more productive.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, which pushed companies to accelerate their digital transformation, artificial intelligence was already heavily democratized. In 2019, Gartner reported that AI adoption has tripled in the past year, with 37% of organizations using AI technology in some form or another. Back then, that percentage was even higher for telcos, of which 52% had introduced AI-powered chatbots to improve their customer experience and various services.

“We are still a long way from an artificial general intelligence that can completely take over complex tasks, but we have now entered the era of augmented work and scientifically made decisions.then declared the North American cabinet. What we are seeing here is an important step in the transition to the third computer age, the digital age.”

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The Covid-19 has been the great Chief Digital Officer of the past two years.

Alexandra Ruez, VP & Senior Partner, Business Transformation Services Leader at IBM

A new dimension with teleworking

Gartner analysts weren’t thinking so well, because in 2020, the spread of Covid-19 to all corners of the world has taken digital – and all resulting technology – to a new dimension. With teleworking deployed at full speed during the various lockdowns around the world, companies had no choice but to equip themselves with new digital solutions to continue their activities. In this context, AI has been particularly popular to pump oil into the wheels, as well as the cloud to facilitate remote working.

A 2021 KPMG study has therefore highlighted that the use of artificial intelligence has accelerated across all sectors, particularly financial services and retail. 88% of small business leaders and 80% of large business leaders surveyed by KPMG demonstrated that AI is seen as a key lever to overcome this difficult time, affirming that AI has been of great importance during the health crisis. “Covid-19 has been the great Chief Digital Officer of the last two years. This has forced all sectors to heavily modernize and digitize their activities.”explains Alexandra Ruez, VP & Senior Partner, Business Transformation Services Leader at IBM.

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Two years into the pandemic, enthusiasm for artificial intelligence has only grown. This is shown by an IBM study conducted with Morning Consult from March 30 to April 12, 2022 with a sample of more than 7,500 business decision-makers worldwide. It shows that 35% of companies say they are using AI in their business and another 42% say they are researching it, meaning 77% of companies are interested in it from near or far.

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IBM therefore notes that AI is growing steadily, with a five-point increase compared to 2021. An increase notably due to their progress making them more accessible to businesses, up to 43%, and the need to reduce costs and automate their key processes (42%). Competition (31%), the Covid-19 pandemic (31%) and consumer pressure (25%) are also among the main factors that have contributed to the adoption of AI. “AI is a reality in all business formats worldwide. Everyone has an AI project. What will differ now is the maturity.”says Alexandra Ruez.

IBM AI for Business 2022 launch study

Data is the fuel of AI.

Alexandra Ruez, VP & Senior Partner, Business Transformation Services Leader at IBM

But for AI to be used in an organization, it needs one essential element, otherwise it’s utterly useless: data. “Data is the fuel of AI. Without data it is relatively smallsummarizes Alexandra Ruez. The AI ​​is far from being able to take over any topic for you. It’s a bit like having a child. There is a strong potential for intelligence, but it needs to be learned and educated, and that is the whole role of data. If you don’t put anything in, it won’t give you anything back.” In IBM’s report, 63% of IT professionals surveyed say at least a quarter of their employees need access to business data to make decisions. The same applies to artificial intelligence to support employees.

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While nearly two-thirds (66%) of IT professionals surveyed by IBM say their organization uses automation tools to reduce manual or repetitive tasks, half (50%) say their organization uses AI-based education solutions, to enhance employee learning and training. their AI often has significant gaps. A majority of organizations have not taken significant steps to ensure their AI is trusted and accountable, including reducing bias (74%), tracking model performance variations/drifts (68%), and guaranteeing the decisions made being able to explain the AI ​​(61%).

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These errors are due to it “a mixture of ignorance and lack of maturityin the eyes of Alexandra Ruez, because these companies are often still in the exploratory phase”. Additionally, around 60% of IT professionals in the IBM study report that a lack of skills and training to develop and manage reliable AI, as well as governance and management tools that don’t work in all data environments, are barriers to developing explainable and trustworthy AI.

Chinese and Indian companies at the top

In this ecosystem, which still lacks sustainable benchmarks, some countries have distinguished themselves through high investments. This is especially true for the US, which invested twenty times more in AI than Europe between 2012 and 2018 big data, according to PitchBook. But surprisingly, corporate AI adoption isn’t strongest in Uncle Sam’s country.

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IBM’s research shows that nearly 60% of IT professionals in India (57%) and China (58%) say their company has actively used it as part of their business operations. This percentage drops to 25% in the United States, while France reaches 31%. This is slightly below the global average (34%). The best European student in this field is neither Germany (34%) nor the UK (26%) but Italy (42%).

IBM AI for Business 2022 launch study

Quantum computing, the next step in artificial intelligence

Logically, the most mature AI companies should be among the first to venture into quantum computing. “Companies that have already passed the milestone of exploring AI are now in an exploration phase of quantum computing”, notes IBM’s Alexandra Ruez. And with good reason, the technologies in this innovative sector, which arouses more and more desires, represent a particularly powerful lever to multiply the capacities of an AI. Because the multiplication of computing power makes it possible to train models on gigantic learning bases. Consequently, algorithms will be able to solve particularly complex problems.

According to a study by the Capgemini Research Center, 23% of companies worldwide are now working or planning to use next-generation quantum technologies. 43% of these companies expect that new quantum technologies will lead to first commercial applications within three to five years. The companies that like these technologies the most are emerging primarily in telecoms (41%), aerospace & automotive (36%), and life sciences (30%).

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To date, China (43%) and the Netherlands (42%) are the nations with the largest share of companies working or planning to work on next-generation quantum technologies, well ahead of Germany and the UK (26% each) when compared to the global Average of 23%. For its part, France (23%), currently just ahead of the United States (22%), adopted a roadmap in January 2021 to position itself among the world leaders in IT. “The first concrete use cases will arrive in France within a year or twobelieves Alexandra Ruez. Banks and insurance companies are interested, and the pharmaceutical and energy industries have real needs when it comes to quantum. What will make the difference is the performance of the machines that will be offered.”

IBM is also well placed to know, as this US giant has developed a 127-qubit quantum processor. But before the full transition to the quantum age, other changes could disrupt the digital transformation of companies. “What I see are also NFTs and metaverses. It will also move the market a lot because through these virtual worlds we will be able to offer new products, new services and maybe even change consumer behavior.”, assures Alexandra Ruez. In quantum computing like the Metaverse, the challenge for France and the EU will be not to be left behind again by the United States and China, where Gafam and BATX are running at the top.

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