Africa: Massive Adoption of AI Despite Talent Gap

Johannesburg — THE number of organisations employing artificial intelligence (AI) have grown by 270 percent over the past four years despite talent shortages in the sector.

These are the findings of Gartner, the research and advisory company, in its 2019 Chief Information Officers (CIO) Survey.

Results showed that organisations across all industries use AI in a variety of applications but struggle with acute talent.

Chris Howard, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, said four years ago, AI implementation was rare, only 10 percent of survey respondents reported that their organisations had deployed AI or would do so shortly.

"For 2019, that number has leapt to 37 percent -- a 270 percent increase in four years," said 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."

The reasons for this big jump is that AI capabilities have matured significantly and thus businesses are more willing to implement the technology.

"We still remain far from general AI that can wholly take over complex tasks, but we have now entered the realm of AI-augmented work and decision science -- what we call 'augmented intelligence," Howard added.

The purpose of the 2019 Gartner CIO Survey is to help CIOs and other technology leaders set and validate their management agendas.

Gartner gathered data from more than 3 000 CIO respondents in 89 countries across major industries, representing $15 trillion in revenue and public-sector budgets and $284 billion in information technology.

(AI, sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals.


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