Why does artificial intelligence no longer intimidate companies … and employees

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The adoption of artificial intelligence in companies has accelerated along with the Covid-19 pandemic. But has Epinal’s image around this technology, close to a science fiction film, really gone?

Frightened as a grim reaper for millions of jobs around the world just 10 years ago, artificial intelligence (AI) has seen the development of its perception in recent years. Conversely, more and more companies are regarded as a tool to support employees in their daily lives.

Using natural language processing, image recognition and machine learning (machine where in-depth study), it appears to be an asset to automate repetitive and lengthy tasks for employees so that they can concentrate on more creative tasks. And by focusing on activities with higher added value, these employees allow their company’s productivity to increase.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, which pushed companies to accelerate their digital innovation, artificial intelligence had already been heavily democratized. In 2019, Gartner reported that AI adoption had tripled in the past year, with 37% of companies using AI technology in one form or another. At that time, this percentage was even higher for telecom companies, 52% of which launched AI -powered chatbots to improve their customer experience and various services.

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

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

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

A new dimension in telework

Gartner analysts didn’t think too hard because in 2020, the spread of Covid -19 to the four corners of the globe has brought digital – and all the technologies resulting from it – in a new dimension. With teleworking being deployed at full speed during various confinements around the world, companies have no choice but to provide themselves with new digital solutions to continue their activities. In this context, AI is particularly popular for putting oil on tires, as well as the cloud for facilitating remote work.

In 2021, a KPMG study highlighted that the deployment of artificial intelligence has accelerated in all sectors, and more specifically in financial and retail services. The fact that AI was seen as a key lever to overcome this difficult period, 88% of small company bosses and 80% of large company managers, surveyed by KPMG, ensured that AI had become huge help during a health crisis. “Covid-19 has been an excellent Chief Digital Officer over the past two years. It has compelled all sectors to undertake vigorous modernization and digitalization of their activities.”explained Alexandra Ruez, VP and Senior Partner, Business Transformation Services Leader at IBM.

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Two years after the start of the pandemic, enthusiasm around artificial intelligence has only grown. This is illustrated by an IBM study, conducted using Morning Consult from March 30 to April 12, 2022 with a sample of more than 7,500 business decision makers worldwide. This shows that 35% of companies say they use AI in their business and an additional 42% say they explore it, which means 77% of companies are interested in it from near or far.

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IBM thus notices that AI continues to grow with an increase of five points compared to 2021. An increase that can be attributed primarily to its growth making it more accessible for companies, up 43%, and on the need to reduce costs and automate their key processes (42%). Competition (31%), the Covid-19 pandemic (31%) and consumer pressure (25%) were also among the key factors that helped drive AI adoption. “AI is a reality all over the world, in all business formats. Everyone has an AI project. Now what will be different is maturity”said Alexandra Ruez.

Data is the fuel of AI.

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

But in order to deploy AI within a company, it needs one important element, otherwise it will be completely useless: data. “Data is the fuel of AI. Without data, it’s pretty lowsummarizes Alexandra Ruez. AI is far from being able to take over you in any subject. Pretty childish. There’s a strong potential for intelligence, but it needs to be learned, educated, and that’s the whole role of data. If you don’t put anything in it, nothing will be returned to you. “ In the IBM report, 63% of IT professionals surveyed say at least a quarter of their staff need access to business data to make decisions. The same goes for artificial intelligence so that it can support employees.

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While less than 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 increase the learning and training of employees, their AI often shows significant gaps. Most organizations did not take basic steps to ensure their AI was reliable and accountable, including bias reduction (74%), tracking model performance variations/drift (68%) ) and the guarantee of the ability to explain the decisions made by the AI ​​(61%).

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These errors are associated with “a mix between ignorance and lack of maturityin the eyes of Alexandra Ruez, because these companies are often in an exploration phase ”. Additionally, approximately 60% of IT professionals report in the IBM study that the lack of skills and training to develop and manage reliable AI, as well as management and management tools that are not works. in all data environments, there are barriers to developing accountable and reliable AI.

Leading Chinese and Indian companies

In this ecosystem that still lacks sustainable benchmarks, some countries have identified themselves through heavy investment. This is particularly the case with the United States, which invested twenty times more in Europe between 2012 and 2018 in AI and big data, according to data from PitchBook. But surprisingly, it’s not in Uncle Sam’s country that AI adoption is the strongest among companies.

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The IBM study revealed that nearly 60%of IT professionals in India (57%) and China (58%) say their company actively implements it as part of their business operations. This percentage dropped to 25% in the United States, while France reached 31%. This is slightly lower than the world average (34%). The best European student in this area is not Germany (34%) or United Kingdom (26%), but Italy (42%).

IBM AI for Business Adoption Study 2022

Quantum computing, the next step in artificial intelligence

The most mature artificial intelligence company should logically be among the first to venture into quantum computing. “Companies that have passed the milestone of AI exploration are already in an exploratory phase of quantum computing”, notes Alexandra Ruez of IBM. And for good reason, technologies in this innovative sector, which are arousing more and more desire, are forming a particularly powerful lever to multiply the capabilities of an AI. Due to the multiplication of computing power, it will be possible to train models on very large learning bases. As such, algorithms can solve particularly complex problems.

Today, 23% of companies worldwide are working or planning to work on exploiting next-generation quantum technologies, according to a study by the Capgemini Research Center. Of these companies, 43% expect that new quantum technologies will lead to their first commercial uses within three to five years. The companies most interested in these technologies thrive mainly in telecoms (41%), aerospace and automotive (36%), as well as in the life sciences (30%).

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Today, China (43%) and the Netherlands (42%) are the countries with the largest share of companies working or planning to work on next -generation quantum technologies, far behind Germany and the UK (26%each), compared. at a global average of 23%. For its part, France (23%), just ahead of the United States (22%) at the moment, adopted a roadmap in January 2021 to position itself among the world’s leaders in IT. quantum. “The first cases of concrete use will come in a year or two in FranceAlexandra Ruez believes. Banks and insurance companies are interested in this, and the pharmaceutical and energy sectors have real needs in relation to quantum. What will change is the power of the machines that will be offered. “

IBM is also well placed to learn because this US giant has developed a 127-qubit quantum processor. But before fully transitioning to the quantum era, other changes could disrupt the digital transformation of companies. “What I see happening are NFTs and metaverse as well. It’s also moving a lot in the market, because through these virtual worlds, we can offer new products, new services, and maybe even change things. consumption patterns ”, assures Alexandra Ruez. In quantum computing as in the metaverse, the challenge for France and the EU will never again be left behind by the United States and China, where Gafam and BATX are at the forefront of artificial intelligence.

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