How many businesses actually use machine learning?

Everyone is talking about machine learning and AI… but how prevalent is it?

A recent survey by MIT Sloan has shown that less than a third (23 per cent) of businesses have adopted any level of machine learning automation, and of those who have, only five percent are using it extensively. It’s a similar situation with its subset, deep learning; an advanced form of machine intelligence technology that is expected to take time to gain wider understanding and acceptance.

“Machine learning is still something people are talking about, rather than using in any great numbers,” highlights Dorian Selz, Squirro CEO. “A lot of hype surrounds machine learning and AI but it’s still very early days so it’s mostly been embraced by early adopters and innovators. But the potential is astonishing and as soon as organisations see the sizeable and tangible benefits it can bring, it will be deployed in far greater numbers.”

However, things already look to be changing, with sectors such as cybersecurity, healthcare, retail and oil and gas pushing ahead with implementations. Analyst firm Forrester has also noted that the percentage of organisations using machine and deep learning had a steep increase from 2016 to 2017.

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“In 2017, 51 per cent of organisations surveyed implement, implemented or were expanding their use of AI over 40 per cent in 2016. Decision management (26 per cent), machine learning platforms (26 per cent) and deep learning (25 per cent) are the top AI building blocks in use,” says Diego Lo Giudice, VP and principal analyst at Forrester.

Machine learning is particularly finding a home within the customer service and support arena, thanks to the direct effect it has on the customer experience.

“Companies can enhance their ability to predict rather than react to rapidly changing demands and expectations,” notes Gajen Kandiah, president of Cognizant Digital business.

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