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A report from the International Data Corporation said that 71% of Indian companies will look to drive process automation through AI in the next two-three years.

The study, funded by Intel India, revealed that while the vast majority of the 194 respondents saw a clear benefit to driving progress through implementing AI, 76% saw a skills shortage as a major obstacle to harnessing the potential.

“This research is a small step towards comprehending this knowledge, and enabling companies, such as ours, shape strategy and move ahead in the right direction,” Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales and Marketing Group, Intel India, said in a statement.

Intel has a vested interest here, currently powering 97% of AI servers worldwide. But that doesn’t change the direction of development across the world which is undoubtedly moving towards AI, and will leave behind those who don’t keep up.

“Indian enterprises have been quick to adopt AI in the recent past, with nearly one in five organisations (22.2 per cent) across the four verticals surveyed implementing the technology in some way. This number is anticipated to soar considerably by mid-2019 with nearly seven in 10 firms (68.6 per cent) anticipated to deploy (it),” the company said.

Not only will a skills shortage need to be overcome, but consumer scepticism will also need to be tackled. The financial services industry have most to gain from AI which can deal with customer service and perform tasks. As AI becomes more used, companies can expect consumer attitudes to soften.

“As roadblocks in adoption and implementation of AI and fears around AI subside, we can expect a new set of opportunities that India can gain from – ranging from higher business efficiency and revenue augmentation to improved data insights and better customer experiences,” Prakash added.

The skills shortage in the economy is an area which private companies are already stepping in to solve. The study also revealed that spending on AI will likely increase by 8-11% over the next 18 months, much of which could be put towards upskilling employees.

The ability of the private sector to take on the role of systematic training is not new in India, as one example Facebook have joined forces with SV.CO to train employees in emerging technologies. Efforts to provide job openings will be crucial to economies across the world dealing with the potential speed at which AI could replace low-skilled labour, but Indian companies taking the responsibility seriously could provide a boon to an economy already showing strong growth.

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