Artificial Intelligence

Seven in 10 Irish companies have core AI strategy – survey

Top challenges in scaling AI include data ethics and responsible AI, lack of a clear vision and shortage of skills
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Image: Pixabay

28 November 2022

Irish companies are matching their global peer when it comes to integrating an artificial intelligence (AI) strategy into their business, according to new research from Accenture.

Almost three quarters (74%) of surveyed Irish organisations have adopted a core AI strategy and put critical tools in place, according to Accenture’s AI Maturity Index. The global average currently stands at 73%.

Irish companies also plan to increase the budget for developing and implementing AI products and services is expected over the next three years, but this is lower than their global counterparts (21% growth expected in Ireland vs 37% globally).

 

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The survey, which examined global AI trends found the top challenges for Irish companies in scaling AI include managing data ethics and responsible AI (16%); the lack of a clear vision and roadmap (12%); and a shortage of AI skills (12%).

Irish companies are only at the beginning of their ‘responsible AI’ journey. One in three (33%) say they have established a cross-functional AI ethics committee to manage top-down RAI implementations and ongoing ethical questions. In comparison, 53% of firms globally have already done so.

Overall, Irish companies are close to the global average in terms of AI capabilities but plan to surpass their global peers in as little as three years. Those capabilities currently include platform & technology adoption; data management & governance; machine learning modeling; and MLOps 

According to the report, in the coming three years an evolving AI talent strategy which mirrors industry trends will become the norm for Irish companies with predicted adoption rates currently at 96%, in comparison to a global figure of 85%. The future AI talent roadmap also includes hiring for more specialised roles in AI such as behavioural scientists, ethicists, and social scientists. 

Elsewhere, Irish companies appear to be falling behind when it comes to actively addressing potential societal harms through techniques such as AI design co-creation, stakeholder impact assessments, Human-AI interaction design guidelines or environmental AI KPIs. Currently, 54% of companies globally possess this capability in comparison to 44% of Irish firms.

Denis Hannigan, AI lead at Accenture in Ireland, said: “There is clear recognition of the value AI can bring to Irish organisations as they look to address a range of priorities and unlock growth, and it’s good to see core AI strategies being embedded across the board. For many, it is no longer a choice, and we are seeing a large proportion of Irish firms looking to AI to help them meet ambitious sustainability targets, highlighting the important role AI is playing both for organisations and society at large, particularly when it comes to overcoming challenges such as skills and labour shortages and accelerating innovation.”

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