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Just forget what Gartner said about AI in June 'cos CIOs are all over it now apparently

Are these the stats you were looking for? Reverse ferret by tech research giant

Reverse ferret. Months after Gartner researchers confirmed a pitifully low proportion of CIOs were actually unleashing AI into the wild, the latest survey paints an entirely different picture.

Confused? So are we. Back in June, Gartner found that just 4 per cent of CIOs had invested in and deployed AI, the latest garment to be worn by the emperor in the tech fashion stakes. Only one in five CIOs had played with it on an experimental basis, the research found.

And some 81 per cent of organisations it spoke to mostly sidestepped AI tech. Top use cases were seen in customer engagement scenarios: call centre support and digital marketing. Chatbots, in other words.

But in a world away from the sentiments expressed toward AI last summer, Gartner roday said AI has implementations have grown 270 per cent in the past four years, and tripled in the last 12 months.

No raw numbers were included but the results showed, the research giant assured us, that AI is being deployed across "all industries" and in a "variety of applications".

"Four years ago, AI implementation was rare, only 10 per cent of survey respondents reported that their organisation had deployed AI or would do so shortly," said Gartner distinguished research veep Chris Howard.

"If you are a CIO and your organisation doesn't use AI, chances are high that your competitors do and this should be a concern," Howard added today as part of the first 2019 CIO Survey.

He said the industry had "entered the realm of AI-augmented work and decision science – what we call augmented intelligence". This maturing of AI capabilities, said Howard, was one reason for the jump.

Again, Gartner included chatbots in its AI research and said more than half of the telcos it spoke to (52 per cent) and more than a third (38 per cent) of healthcare providers rely on computer-assisted diagnostics.

In fact, such is the growth in deployments that CIOs are now finding AI skills harder to come by, Gartner reported. "In order to stay ahead, CIOs need to be creative," said Howard. "If there's no AI talent available, another possibility is to invest in training programmes for employees with background in statistics and data management."

Maybe Gartner was wrong in its summary of AI last June. Or the CIOs were. Or both were. Or maybe the 3,000 CIOs from 89 countries that Gartner spoke to for the latest stats are wrong this time round.

In a similar about turn last week, reassuringly expensive consultant McKinsey presented its updated view of blockchain: two years after promoting reckless abandonment, the authors of the latest report stated there are better alternatives to solve problems. ®

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