Artificial intelligence has evolved from an esoteric research topic--with its origins six decades ago in corporate and academic computer science labs--into a collection of powerful technologies with mainstream business promise and applicability. Deloitte's global AI study finds that, in organizations adopting AI, more than eight in 10 leaders see AI as "very" or "critically" important to their business success in the next two years.1 AI adoption and spending are surging globally. According to one report, 37 percent of organizations have now deployed AI--a 270 percent increase from four years ago.2 Analysts project global spending on AI to top US$35 billion in 2019 and more than double to US$79.2 billion by 2022.3 What is driving this tremendous upswing? Many foresee AI helping to spur enormous productivity gains over the next decade, making it essential to the competitiveness of national economies.4
For the third straight year, Deloitte surveyed executives about their companies' sentiments and practices regarding AI technologies. We were particularly interested in understanding what it will take to stay ahead of the pack as AI adoption grows--and we wanted to learn how adopters are managing risk around the technologies as AI governance, trust, and ethics become more of a boardroom issue. Get the Deloitte Insights app. Adopters continue to have confidence in AI technologies' ability to drive value and advantage. We see increasing levels of AI technology implementation and financial investment. Adopters say they are realizing competitive advantage and expect AI-powered transformation to happen for both their organization and industry. Early-mover advantage may fade soon. As adoption becomes ubiquitous, AI-powered organizations may have to work harder to maintain an edge over their industry peers.
FOR the second straight year, Deloitte surveyed executives in the US knowledgeable about cognitive technologies and artificial intelligence,1 representing companies that are testing and implementing them today. We found that these early adopters2 remain bullish on cognitive technologies' value. As in last year's survey, the level of support for AI is truly extraordinary. These findings illustrate that cognitive technologies hold enticing promise, some of which is being fulfilled today. However, AI technologies may deliver their best returns when companies balance excitement over their potential with the ability to execute. A year later, and the thrill isn't gone. In Deloitte's 2017 cognitive survey, we were struck by early adopters' enthusiasm for cognitive technologies.4 That excitement owed much to the returns they said cognitive technologies were generating: 83 percent stated they were seeing either "moderate" or "substantial" benefits. Respondents also said they expected that cognitive technologies would change both their companies and their industries rapidly. In 2018, respondents remain enthusiastic about the value cognitive technologies bring. Their companies are investing in foundational cognitive capabilities, and using them with more skill. Thirty-seven percent of respondents say their companies have invested US$5 million or more in cognitive technologies. Another reason is that companies have more ways to acquire cognitive capabilities, and they are taking advantage.
A balanced strategy can be critical to realizing the benefits of AI technologies, according to a global survey of early AI adopters. Nobody likes to be left behind when the next big thing comes along, and business leaders are no exception. With AI widely seen as helping to drive a major economic expansion, a fear of missing out is spreading among many organizations worldwide. A number of businesses are rushing to advance their AI capabilities through investment and talent development, and several governments have set up formal AI frameworks to help spur economic and technological growth. As Deloitte's annual State of AI in the Enterprise survey¹ shows, AI technology will likely exert an enormous effect on economic development and the nature of work--and it's already transforming early-adopter companies.
As one of the hottest technologies of recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has started penetrating both the US public and the private sectors--though to differing degrees. While the private sector seems bullish on AI, the public sector's approach appears tempered with more caution--a Deloitte survey of select early adopters of AI shows high concern around the potential risks of AI among public sector organizations (see the sidebar "About the survey"). They give a peek into how public sector organizations are approaching AI; and how the approaches, in many cases, differ from those of their private sector counterparts. AI is not completely new to the public sector. The first AI contract was awarded in 1985 by the US Social Security Administration,1 but the technology still wasn't advanced enough to become common in the following decades.