Artificial intelligence (AI) will become key to remaining competitive within the next few years, according to new research by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
The Global Trend Study – Getting Smarter by the Day: How AI is Elevating the Performance of Global Companies – found that 84% of companies see the use of AI as “essential” to competitiveness, and a further 50% view the technology as “transformative”.
AI is already being used to automate certain processes and drive efficiencies, to help employees be more productive and devote more time to more strategic business needs, and to create new work and services that were not possible in the past, the report pointed out.
Almost seven out of 10 (68%) companies are using AI to detect and prevent potential hacks and security threats to their systems, but 70% of firms believe its greatest impact will be in functions outside of IT such as marketing, customer service, finance, strategic planning and HR.
By 2020, the technology is expected to have a “dramatic impact” on business, TCS said.
But will the wider adoption of AI have an impact on jobs?
Business executives in the study estimated net reductions in each function of between 4% and 7% by 2020. However, TCS also found that companies with the biggest revenue and cost improvements from AI see the need for at least three times as many new jobs in each function by 2020 because of AI, as compared to companies with the smallest AI-related revenue and cost improvements.
“As companies begin to gain a better understanding of AI’s application for business, they will realise the significant impact of this transformative force. This is reflected in our Global Trend Study, which shows that forward-thinking companies are beginning to make major AI investments,” commented K Ananth Krishnan, chief technology officer of TCS. “Given the increasing digital disruption across every industry and the public sector, AI should become a key and integrated component of an organisation’s strategy.”
Julian Hemming, Employment Partner at Osborne Clarke, has also shared his thoughts on the research: “The TCS study reflects my view that AI will create more roles for people rather than less. As we can see now, employment levels remain high alongside rapid technological change. The key area of change will be how we work, including a move away from the traditional employment model to more gig working, with the workers offering increasingly specialised skills to more business. Agile working and improved connectivity may mean that workers who don’t want to be in cities can work from wherever they want. The best businesses will be those who can offer opportunities to the widest possible groups of workers.”