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AI: Where Are We Now?


As we move forward into greater digital transformation and leveraging AI (artificial intelligence), companies are trying to decipher what works well and simply, what doesn’t. This is precisely what Intel has uncovered in a survey and shared in its presentation: Harvesting Value from AI Investments.

Here is what I have gleaned learned from its research. Roughly 72% are actively engaging with AI today, but few are systematically building a solid foundation for AI value. Roughly a quarter have a company-wide vision and strategy around AI in their organization. Less than that are experimenting around where AI adds value; have data and privacy governance in place as guardrails for smart projects; reliably do risk assessments around AI initiatives and projects; execute smart vision and strategy; and have a solid foundation of infrastructure and tools to build AI solutions.

The big takeaway here is that we are moving away from the very early adopter phase of AI, but now companies are at the stage where they need to determine strategy around AI and how to get the most value out of the technology.

Intel’s survey results show the biggest value from AI comes in the form of remote monitoring and maintenance, decision support, workflow automation, worker performance management, work instructions or checklists for workers, securing data or other assets, remote control of systems or processes, remote operator training, and self-optimizing systems or processes. One survey respondent suggests the ability to safely optimize production without having to be on-site is highly valuable.

For many companies, AI provides the ability to identify trends based on realtime data; detect or recognize when an issue occurs; and predict what something or someone will need or want in the future—but of course all of this comes with its own host of challenges.

Respondents suggest the insufficient trust of use of AI is the biggest obstacle, followed by the fact that AI usage is easier to envision than to get or keep working in the real world. Other challenges include how leaderships make decisions; attempting AI usage even amid significant data challenges or flaws; and not thinking holistically enough about AI usage.

So, then what can be done? The survey suggests we must foster trust of AI through design, implementation, and deployment—and this is something I have harped on for years. If we want any digital transformation to succeed, we need transparency and to help the users of the technology to feel safe and secure when using it.

The survey also recommends increase individual change capacity, meaning making sure workers—especially those hands-on with AI—have the skills needed to use and support smart solutions. We need to engage the workforce and foster an attitude that embraces the technology, otherwise use of it will never grow. As I always say, we also need this to start from the top down.

Of course, Intel also makes the case that value is only going to come when we combine data, AI, and the infrastructure. We need data collection, data aggregation and control, data scoring AI analytics and model updates, and the business intelligence that comes from all of it.

We need the right people, processes, and technology to make this all work effectively. If AI continues to make its mark in industry, as we are beginning to witness, much will change in the months and years ahead. With that being said, it will certainly be interesting to witness the solutions that secure their rightful place in everyday lives.

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