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2020 AI Predictions

Five ways to go from reality check to real-world payoff

Think that artificial intelligence (AI) is hard? Turns out, you’re right, and for many business leaders, 2020 is the year of the “reality check,” when they lay the groundwork for a realistic AI-powered future. PwC’s third annual AI Predictions report shows that only 4% of executives surveyed plan to deploy AI enterprise-wide in 2020. A year ago, nearly 20% hoped to do the same.

So, what happened? Our annual survey, in conjunction with what we see in our AI Lab and working with clients to develop AI, analytics and automation strategies, reveals the primary reason for this retrenchment: the need to focus on fundamentals before enlarging AI projects.

Looking forward, these insights provide lessons in how business and technology executives are overcoming challenges, what their priorities are for AI progress and how they expect to reap rewards. Corporate America is—rightfully—still focused on capturing the expected $16 trillion in AI gains in the next decade. Ninety percent of executives surveyed believe that AI offers more opportunities than risks, and nearly half are expecting AI to disrupt either their geographical markets, the sectors in which they operate or both.

To help you make the right AI moves this year, we created this list of priorities. We predict the businesses that follow this blueprint will be poised for a more transformative payoff in the years ahead.

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Here are your five AI priorities for 2020:

Get on board with boring AI

How to get serious ROI from AI? Deploy it in key in-house functions—while laying the groundwork for a truly exciting transformation.

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Rethink upskilling

If you’re just offering tech training to your non-tech employees, you’re doing AI upskilling wrong. Get citizen-led and multilingual instead.

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Lead on risk and responsibility

The bad news: business and tech leaders seem far too complacent about AI’s real risks. The good news: There are ways to proceed with confidence.

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Operationalize AI—integrated and at scale

AI here and there isn’t good enough. Leaders are putting AI to work 24/7 as part of operational systems that cross functions and business units.

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Reinvent your business model

Is your business built only on human and physical assets? You’ll need a new model that integrates AI’s cognitive assets and works in AI time.

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About the survey

PwC’s annual AI Predictions survey explores the activities and attitudes of US business and technology executives across a range of industries who are involved in their organization’s AI strategies. Among this year’s 1,062 survey respondents, 54% hold C-suite titles, more than half work in IT and technology functions and 36% were from companies with revenues of $5 billion and up. The survey was conducted by PwC Research, PwC’s global Center of Excellence for market research and insight, in October 2019.

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Anand Rao

Global & US Artificial Intelligence and US Data & Analytics Leader, PwC US

Scott Likens

Data and Analytics Leader, China and Hong Kong, PwC US

Michael Shehab

US Technology and Process Leader, PwC US