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Computer says… Maybe to AI in the UK

New Survey from IP EXPO Europe Shows Mixed AI Signals from UK IT Decision Makers

LONDON – 14 September 2016 – New research commissioned by IP EXPO Europe, Europe’s number one enterprise IT event, shows that although 37% of respondents think that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a main technology theme for enterprises in 2017, there are mixed signals in terms of business application, investment levels and impact on society from UK IT decision makers (ITDMs).

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The results reveal that a significant 32% of respondents claim they are concerned about AI replacing human jobs overall, with 19% admitting that they are more worried about their own job being overtaken by a robot than they were 12 months ago. In addition, there is a clear perceived risk factor, with almost a third worried about the unknown impacts of increased AI. 22% of respondents also voiced concerns about AI providing another route for cyber security attacks. Interestingly, 1 in 10 UK ITDMs thought that no form of artificial intelligence was of value to business.

However, the results also indicate that any hesitancy in uptake perhaps comes from a lack of immediately recognised business/organisational applications and perceived cost. In fact, 21% noted that although they didn’t think AI was applicable to their business right now, it could be one day. Another 18% saw the advantages of increased AI automation and machine learning technologies but claimed such initiatives were ‘too expensive’ to implement immediately.

In parallel with these AI ‘non-believers’, the survey also showed a more positive take on AI from some respondents. 28% agreed that there are huge benefits to be had, and that they need artificial intelligence in their business now. A very confident 35% of ITDMs have never been worried about their job being overtaken by a robot. In fact they think that it will make for a more efficient, smarter workforce enabling humans to focus on more high-value concerns. Automation (26%) and machine learning (23%) topped the list of types of AI most valuable to businesses, followed by cognitive computing (13%) and robotics or co-botics (12%).

While 11% said that AI had already hit the workplace, some thought it would take longer to see the real impact with a quarter of respondents (24%) predicting it would take up to 3 years, 15% up to 4 years and 23% up to 5 years.

This mixed picture is reflected in predicted investment levels. While 27% aren’t intending to invest anything at all in AI over the next 12 months, 36% are intending to allocate up to 30% of their total IT budget in some form of AI in the next 12 months. More interestingly, 22% will be investing between 31% and 50%, with 16% claiming it will be over 50%.

Bradley Maule-ffinch, Director of Strategy for IP EXPO Europe comments; “With Nick Bostrom, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Artificial Intelligence as our opening keynote this year, we were keen to investigate the realities of the state of AI within the UK IT industry. The results reinforce that while AI is unarguably a ‘hot topic’, a range of unanswered questions still exist about the implementation, application and real benefits of AI in business. It is sure to be a highly debated subject at this year’s event.”

Bostrom, Author & Founding Director of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute will be the opening keynote at Day One of this year’s IP EXPO Europe. Bostrom will be discussing the impact that AI and intelligent machines will have on business and society, and sets out to answer the question: ‘Will AI bring about the end of humanity?’

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