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To what extent do European enterprises use technologies based on artificial intelligence?

The report of the first EU-wide survey on the uptake of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies covers multiple topics focused on AI awareness and adoption, sector insights, AI sourcing strategies and the future adoption of AI.

Artificial Intelligence technologies refers to a collection of technologies that combine algorithms, computing power and data in order to mimic ‘cognitive functions’ such as learning and problem solving. The survey shows that most (78%) of European businesses are aware of AI and know what the term means. However, being aware of AI is only the first step to adopting it to your business. 42% of the European enterprises are already using at least one AI technology. Large companies are more likely adopters of AI than smaller companies. Furthermore, there is a significant difference between sectors in adopting AI. The highest adoption is found in the IT sector (63%) and the financial sector is a forerunner. When considering the purpose of AI adoption there is also a difference in sector to be seen. Some use AI to scale the understanding of human customers while others use AI to make their process more efficient or to take the human factor out of the equation.

Regarding the future of AI adoption, the study points out that 18% of enterprises that do not currently use AI plan to adopt at least one technology in the next two years. Furthermore, 56% of the enterprises that already use AI plan to use it more in the next two years. These results suggest that the current uptake of AI technologies is likely to grow in the coming years. However, there are also some obstacles to AI adoption that are mentioned by the surveyed enterprises. The two leading barriers that enterprises face are characterised as AI skills needs and the cost of implementation. Especially business that did not implement AI technologies at all see the obstacles as major barriers. In order to stimulate AI adoption, enterprises should be supported in making the first step towards overcoming the anticipated barriers.