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More than half (54.6%) of organizations are experimenting with generative artificial intelligence (gen AI), while some (18.2%) are already implementing it in their operations, but only a few (18.2%) plan to spend more on the technology in the next year, according to initial findings from a new poll of global executives in data, IT, AI, security and marketing led by VentureBeat ahead of the recently concluded VB Transform 2023 conference in San Francisco.
The spending discrepancy showcases challenges for enterprises looking to adopt AI tools, namely: limited budgets or lack of budget priorities for generation AI.
The findings also highlight a difficulty for AI technology vendors selling such tools: they have to persuade their potential client organizations to increase their spending or reallocate budgets.
The targeted survey, which began in June and is still ongoing, expects to conclude with more than 100 respondents. The complete results are only made available to conference participants.
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Promises and Challenges of Adopting Generation AI
AI has been likened to the most powerful and transformative technology since the advent of the internet itself, according to several prominent leaders in business and technology.
“The development of artificial intelligence is as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet and the mobile phone,” he wrote Microsoft founder Bill Gates on his blog in March. “It will change the way people work, learn, travel, receive health care and communicate with each other.”
“I’ve never been this excited and scared in my 20 years of venture capital because of gen AI,” said Tim Guleri, a venture capitalist at Silicon Valley firm Sierra Ventures, in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat in June.
Despite these strong acclaim, organizations across industries are taking a cautious and measured approach to adopting new next-generation AI tools. Because that’s how it is?
VentureBeat’s survey reveals that more than a third (36.4%) of organization leaders, stakeholders, and practitioners are faced with adopting “limited talent and/or resources for generation AI.” And a significant proportion (18.2%) say they get “insufficient support from leaders or stakeholders.”
How organizations are experimenting with gen AI so far
VentureBeat’s survey also asked organization leaders and stakeholders how they’ve used generation AI so far in their first forays into the technology.
The largest use case (46% of respondents) was for natural language processing (NLP) related tasks such as chatting and messaging, followed by content creation (32%).
Yet a surprising number (32%) said they implement generation AI for other use cases or are not using the technology yet.
Of course, with generational AI being a relatively new technology for wide-ranging applications, and with new AI products, features, and companies being announced daily, organizations may find themselves overwhelmed by the plethora of options and possible uses.
At the same time, the rapid pace at which gen AI products, services and capabilities are unveiled means that the landscape is changing rapidly, so organizations that may not have found a good reason to seek out a gen AI solution in recent months could look again today and find one that best fits their needs.
For example: The most popular generation AI tool to date, OpenAI’s ChatGPT Large Language Model (LLM), has only added significant new features in the last few weeks, turning it into a de facto data analyst and much more customizable tool.
VentureBeat survey respondents were most aligned (63%) on the power of generation AI to influence a variety of use cases, followed by improving customer experience (46%).
Clearly, the story of generation AI is just beginning and the survey seems to reflect that, with organizations still figuring out how best to implement it to achieve their business goals and very few willing to put more effort into spending it. But as we just discussed, that’s changing rapidly, and survey results are likely to be very different next year.
For now, it’s a bit of a free-for-all generation AI. Those organizations looking to move forward will need to keep a close eye on emerging trends through outlets like VentureBeat, look for tools that can be tailored to their needs and wants, and commit to spending a higher percentage of their organizational budget on it. Meanwhile, AI vendors need to create clear, compelling, and highly targeted use cases for the industries and problem areas their potential customers face.
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