October 26, 2023 | Updated: October 25, 2023
Companies everywhere want to harness AI’s potential.
But here’s the catch: integrating AI into existing work isn’t as straightforward as flipping a switch. Integrating other technologies – from cloud computing to IoT devices – has often been met with mixed success. Some evidence suggests that digital transformation initiatives – a broad term used to describe the digitization of services – have astoundingly high failure rates, meaning they didn’t meet expectations, exceeded costs, blew through deadlines or in some cases were abandoned.
Introducing advanced technology like AI may be more difficult. So what’s the realistic roadmap for adoption? How will companies use artificial intelligence in the coming years?
In “The Impact of Technology in 2024 and Beyond: an IEEE Global Study,” a recent survey of global technology leaders, 47% of respondents said they see difficulty integrating AI into existing workflows as one of the top three concerns when it comes to using generative AI in 2024.
“New use cases of generative AI and their integration into the general architecture may turn to be serious challenges,” said IEEE Life Senior Member Raul Colcher. “Good business analysts and system integrators will be essential.”
Skills Companies Need
For one thing, the technology is so new, there are few people with the expertise to work with it.
Additional data from the survey illuminate the challenge. Respondents were asked to list the top skills they were looking for in candidates for AI-related roles. A variety of technical skills comprised the list, but various soft skills also ranked high.
“Prompt engineering, creative thinking and the ability to verify AI’s deliverables – these three skills are what you need to generate meaningful outcomes with the aid of generative AI,” said Yu Yuan, IEEE Senior Member.
Despite widespread focus on generative AI throughout the current year, the percentage of respondents who said they had introduced or were planning to introduce tools that used natural language processing in the coming year ticked up from 67% in 2023 to 70% in 2024, according to the survey.
Most Likely To Adopt
The industries most likely to adopt and use AI solutions tend to be in sectors already reliant on technical skills. According to the survey, among top uses of AI in the coming year will be real time cybersecurity, increasing supply chain efficiency, aiding and accelerating software development, automating customer service and the speeding up screening of job applicants. Here’s what our IEEE Impact Creators have to say:
“Realistically, the use of AI in cybersecurity will help to reduce the punishing cognitive load on tier one analysts in the security operation center,” said IEEE Senior Member Kayne McGladrey. “Rather than having to comb through a needlestack looking for a needle, AI promises to automate much of the correlation across vast amounts of data that humans struggle with.”
“One of the biggest bottlenecks in technology is the availability of human resources for coding. In many cases, there is intellectual work with high added value, but many of the software development activities are relatively simple and should be automated soon,” said IEEE Senior Member Carmelo José Albanez Bastos Filho.
“A depressingly high level of customer service interactions are bad,” said IEEE Senior Member Nicholas Napp. “A mixture of poor training, poor funding and poorly aligned incentives create a terrible environment for success. As a result, simple issues are often left unresolved, resulting in waste, unhappy customers and poor outcomes. Anything that can meaningfully improve the customer service experience should be welcomed.”
Learn More: The IEEE Computer Society has developed a comprehensive list of AI resources, including links to ethical guides and salary information. Check it out here.