AI helps solve, but suffers from skill shortages

We don’t have enough people to build artificial intelligence systems that can automate areas of business that don’t have enough people.

Ironically, while AI is seen as a labor saver, stepping forward to handle low-level or repetitive tasks that are hard to find employees for, the skills gap remains the biggest obstacle to adopting IA. At the same time, AI is also helping organizations address skills shortages.

That’s the word from IBM’s latest study of 7,502 executives around the world, which shows that the shortage of AI skills isn’t necessarily slowing things down. Currently, 35% of companies said they use AI in their business, a four-point increase from 2021.

Companies are turning to AI to address labor and skill shortages and drive greater efficiency. Two-thirds of IT professionals report that their company uses automation tools to reduce manual or repetitive tasks. Nearly half of IT professionals overall say their company is currently using or evaluating the use of automation software or tools to increase efficiency in IT operations (46%) and business operations (46%) and to save money on costs (45%).

At the same time, the biggest obstacle to adoption remains limited AI skills, competencies or knowledge (34%). Those skills must include the ability to explain how AI came to a decision remains critical to businesses. Most IT professionals in 2021 and 2022 say that being able to explain how their AI came to a decision is important to their business. Lack of skills and training to develop and manage trusted AI (63%) and AI governance and management tools that don’t work in all data environments (60%) are the biggest obstacles businesses face in developing an AI that is explainable and reliable.

The graphs below illustrate the most compelling use cases for AI, as well as major hurdles.

How is your organization using AI and automation to address a labor or skills shortage?

  • Use of automation tools to reduce manual or repetitive tasks by 65%
  • Use of AI-based solutions to increase employee learning / training by 50%
  • Using AI to improve recruiting and human resources 45%
  • Using low-code / no-code tools to fill skills gaps 35%

What, if anything, is hindering the successful adoption of AI for your business?

  • We have limited AI skills, competences or knowledge 34%
  • The price is too high 29%
  • Lack of tools / platforms for the development of artificial intelligence models 25%
  • AI projects are too complex or difficult to integrate and scale by 24%
  • We have too much data complexity 24%
  • We have ethical concerns 15%

AI is indeed a labor saver, but its rise requires skills or retraining in entirely new ways to design, build and maintain these systems.

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