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AI will aid business efficiency in the post-COVID world – but only if the boardroom can catch up

Business and technology leaders have pointed to a range of opportunities provided by Artificial Intelligence to support the economy’s revitalisation, including new efficiencies and new business models. But a lack of understanding in the boardroom, legacy technologies, and an under-skilled workforce all represent major challenges.

A new report published by information hub The AI Journal,  entitled AI in a Post-COVID-19 World, has revealed that 72% of leaders feel positive about the role that AI will play in the future, with the number one expectation being that it will make business processes more efficient (74%).

55% have suggested that AI will help to create new business models, and 54% expect it to enable the creation of new products and services.

But respondents have pointed to a range of barriers to AI achieving its potential, led by a lack of understanding or commitment towards investing at board level – feared by 59% of respondents.

The legacy processes and technologies within businesses that do not support AI (50%), and the lack of relevant skills within the workforce (48%), were also big concerns.

60% of respondents reported that their organisation currently uses AI; a further 52% are currently planning an implementation. Machine learning is the key technology of the moment – it is already being used in many companies (70%), and 63% are planning further integrations. The other key technologies pointed to by respondents were data science, predictive analytics and chatbots.

Tom Allen, Founder, The AI Journal, said:

“I am confident that ultimately the changes brought by AI will improve people’s lives. AI can be a force for good in this new and scary world that we are stepping into. It can help us to be more efficient, it can help us to develop new products and services, and it can help us to change our business models for the better.

“But there are also challenges ahead – many of the sticking points that we saw before the pandemic still remain, with the key issues being a lack of support at board level, legacy technologies, and an under-skilled workforce.”

AI in a Post-COVID-19 World is based on an online survey of AI experts and practitioners, and business leaders in both tech and non-tech organisations, carried out by The AI Journal during July and August 2020. Further input was sought from survey respondents and other members of the AI community in compiling the report.

AI in a Post-Covid-19 World provides six solutions to the challenges faced by AI, as identified by business and technology leaders:

  1. Training and education
  2. Positive communications campaigns
  3. A focus on ethics and regulation
  4. Government support
  5. A focus on improving legacy systems
  6. A greater provision of support communities for AI developers



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