Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Study Predicts Many AI False Starts 

There is no shortage of corporate AI projects underway and most will fail because companies have not laid the proper foundation in the form of pilot projects or proof of concept approaches needed to scale AI efforts.

That’s the central conclusion of a new survey of about 80 companies jumping on the AI bandwagon but neglecting to look before they leap.

“While enterprises have high expectations of the impact of [intelligent automation], they are not ready to implement it from the top down and at scale,” concludes technology consultant KPMG in a report released this week.

Among the reasons is a fundamental lack of understanding that the corporate implementation of AI referred to as intelligent automation is “about changing business processes, and then restructuring the organization around those new processes now driven by technologies that didn’t exist before.”

Another part of the problem is unrealistic expectations by early adopters of AI who have done little planning to scale out deployment efforts. The survey found that nearly half the executives polled expect to use AI technologies “at scale” over the next three years. However, only 24 percent have launched pilot projects.

Despite the false starts, KPMG estimates the “intelligent automation” market that includes AI, machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) is poised to explode. The report estimates that enterprise investment will jump from the current $12.4 billion to $231.9 billion by 2025.

Of greatest interest to early adopters is the robotics segment: 74 percent of those surveyed said they expect to use RPA over the next three years but only 16 percent have so far managed to scale out those efforts.

AI innovations “will come from machine intelligence that can read and learn from interacting with humans,” said Cliff Justice, who oversees KPMG’s cognitive automation initiatives.

While the financial services and retail sectors have taken “disruptive” approaches to deploying AI, Justice predicts the healthcare, manufacturing and transportation sectors also will be transformed by AI once companies get their ducks in a row.

Indeed, one case study emerged this week when Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) announced an AI application designed to assist doctors treating patients at risk for respiratory failure. The system developed by Montefiore Hospital in New York City uses an “analytical learning machine” to gather data from health charts, medical billing codes and electronic health record notes. The analyzed data is used to assist doctors and nurses treating patients in intensive care to determine the highest risk of death from respiratory failure.

Intelligent automation “will radically change healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and transportation business models over the next five years,” KPMG’s Justice predicted.

The business consultant’s survey of AI experts and industry executives was conducted between September and December of 2017.

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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