CIOs deal with opposition to AI launches

Corporate technology leaders are having to work towards corporate support for AI after years of mixed results and confusion about what the technology can actually do.

Organizations’ overall adoption of AI has tripled since 2019 as algorithms have grown in size and sophistication, according to the international data firm. Still, some executives worry that technology — which in some industries has been slow to deliver on its promise — could lose support from corporate officials as the economy tightens.

said Katja Walsh, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer at

Levi Strauss

& Co.

Five years ago, some companies made huge investments in artificial intelligence without having enough high-quality core data to train and run the algorithms. That left executives disappointed with the results and disappointed, according to Todd Loehr, president of US technology consulting at KPMG LLP.

Katja Walsh, Head of Strategy and AI Officer at Levi Strauss.


Levi Strauss & Co.

Mr. Loehr said early, costly projects failed to come to fruition, especially in sectors such as healthcare, where the difficulties of integrating and structuring data are complex.

In addition, many companies have approached AI without a sense of what they can realistically do, said Andrew Ng, founder and president of Startup Landing AI and former chief scientist at AI.

Baidu company

For example, AI cannot do things like predict the stock market or cure cancer because the answers to those questions are not found in the data, he said.

It might be one such example

International business machine company

resolution Sale of assets from the Watson Health businessan organization that was once promoted as a way to help doctors diagnose and treat cancer.

said Mr. Ng, who also co-founded Google Brain, the company’s in-depth research team.

Leveraging AI can be “a tricky task if you don’t have enough data to build a model,” said Alex Cook, head of strategic capabilities at New York Life. It is a trap he has seen many fall into over the years, he added.

Given this risk, many CIOs have invested in foundational data, and have developed a better knack for identifying reasonable uses. But another difficulty remains, educating the companies’ workforce, analysts say.

In fact, the barrier to adoption is becoming less of a technology problem and more of a people problem, they said.

“It’s new, and a lot of people still don’t know what it is, especially in the old companies. There’s a need for a lot of education. There’s a need to ‘show me the money,’” said Mrs Walsh.

“I think sometimes people are like, ‘Well, the model didn’t work right the first time, so I’m not really going to use it,'” he said.

Johnson & Johnson

Chief Information Officer Jim Swanson. He added, “Form is never right the first time — ever.”

He said the main reason for this was the lack of sufficient data. But buying is crucial. He said building digital acumen across the company, including in areas such as research and development and supply chain, remains a priority to ensure other executives understand the value proposition of AI.

“There is an element of people that we have to work on constantly to make sure there is adoption,” he said.

“Honestly, it takes guts and audacity,” said Linda Avery, who holds the position

Verizon connections company

During the month of December, the Head of Data and Analytics said about her experience in putting AI algorithms into the works. “You change the way people work, you change the way people think.”

Artificial intelligence has developed significantly over the past several years, according to Mr. Ng. In deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence that attempts to simulate aspects of human neurons, the scale of the models — including the number of parameters and neurons simulated — is larger, and the ways in which these large numbers of simulated neurons are linked together are becoming more sophisticated, he said. .

Some companies say they see tangible benefits from AI. Levi’s said it uses technology to personalize online shoppers’ experiences and drive more sales. J&J said it uses it to help salespeople decide the next best course of action. Verizon said it uses it to forecast demand in certain areas of the business and deploy its workforce accordingly.

In 2022, organizations will spend an average of 4% to 6% more on AI than the previous year, according to IDC. Some companies said they spend $150 million to $170 million a year on AI, and those costs go into hardware, software, and professional services, the company said.

“There will be hesitation” about AI in a slower economy, said Ritu Jyoti analyst at IDC. But she said companies that commit to these investments will be in a better position to weather any downturn. She noted that other emerging technologies are likely to be cut further than AI, due to the potential for cost savings.

She said, “There are certain investments in certain technology that will continue to happen, and AI and automation are actually at the top of that list, because they impact every aspect of your business.”

Write to Isabelle Bousquette at

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