Just about every new software product and service will claim to have artificial intelligence by 2020, according to Gartner, but customers will probably end up disappointed as the reality struggles to match the hype.
Analysts at Gartner have claimed that the increasing hype around AI is pushing software vendors to introduce the technology - or claim to have introduced the technology - into their product strategies. Many companies are developing their own branches of AI, with more than 1,000 describing themselves as ‘AI vendors'.
In January last year, the term ‘artificial intelligence' did not appear in Gartner's top 100 search terms; by May this year, it was number seven.
While interest in AI is strong now, companies should be wary of using it where it isn't needed, Gartner warned.
"AI offers exciting possibilities, but unfortunately, most vendors are focused on the goal of simply building and marketing an AI-based product rather than first identifying needs, potential uses and the business value to customers," said Gartner research vice president Jim Hare.
Many firms are applying the AI label too liberally to their products, a process that Gartner refers to as ‘AI washing'.
Like greenwashing (where companies inflate their environmental credentials), this is creating confusion in the market and affecting consumers' perceptions of the tech.
To build trust in AI with end-user organisations, Gartner recommends that vendors focus on collating case studies with quantifiable results achieved using the technology.
Gartner also found that organisations ‘lack the skills to evaluate, build and deploy AI solutions,' instead preferring to use embedded or packaged solutions. The Royal Society warned that the UK was suffering an AI skills shortage in April.
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