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More AI education needed

CompTIA finds that many firms are in the dark over the technology and would benefit from some guidance over its advantages

The channel is going to have to increase the education it can offer users around artificial intelligence if the technology is going to increase its adoption rates.

As it stands only 29% of firms are using AI regularly, which is a rate climbing in single digits from the 24% reporting that back in 2017, according to research into US firms from CompTIA.

The industry group has found that UK businesses are often following the same trends and reported that a lack of knowledge is holding back customers with more than half the customer base admitting to having a low understanding of the technology.

Some customers have recognised that the technology can help in certain areas: improving workflow (52%), analysing large datasets (51%) and enhancing customer experience (48%) but only 19% of firms have developed expert knowledge around AI implementation.

“Artificial intelligence represents a new way of thinking about software,” said Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, CompTIA. “We’re no longer asking computers to produce a defined result every time, but to produce an undefined result based on general rules. Understanding this difference can be challenging, especially when most businesses are not actively developing their own AI algorithms.”

The issue is slightly wider than just AI and links into general data management practices, which again many customers revealed they were struggling with.

“AI can help with cost savings, but the greater potential lies in opening new doors,” he said. “Companies that are approaching AI as an IT activity should consider its far-reaching implications and move towards a more collaborative model. AI is a topic that should involve the entire organization.”

The UK government has made it clear that it views becoming an AI powerhouse one of its main ambitions for the future in an effort to create jobs and keep the country ahead competitively.

Earlier this month a number of industry experts, including Ocado’s CTO Paul Clarke and Alan Turing Institute chief executive Professor Adrian Smith, were appointed to the AI Council to help keep the momentum going after the government marked the first anniversary of its AI Sector deal, part of its Industrial Strategy.

“Britain is already a leading authority in AI. We are home to some of the world’s finest academic institutions, landing record levels of investment to the sector and attracting the best global tech talent, but we must not be complacent," said Digital Secretary, Jeremy Wright.

“Through our AI Council we will continue this momentum by leveraging the knowledge of experts from a range of sectors to provide leadership on the best use and adoption of artificial intelligence across the economy," he added.

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