Lack of understanding, mistrust holding companies back from AI, finds survey

News / Simon Parker / May 1, 2020

Mistrust and a lack of understanding are key factors holding back Asia-Pacific organisations from investing in artificial intelligence, a recent poll by professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY) has found.

During a live Asia-Pacific AI webcast held on February 13, which attracted 386 attendees including Deakin University, EY revealed that more than 70 per cent of those attendees were stalling their adoption of AI because of mistrust, potential for bias and a lack of transparency and explainability.

Artificial intelligence is big business, with estimates indicating it will generate about $US2.9 trillion ($5 trillion) of business value globally in 2021.

Almost one fifth of executives polled in the EY survey said they were exploring AI solutions, while 41 per cent said they were interested in exploring the technology’s potential, but didn’t know where to start.

Many businesses are still learning how to leverage and infuse artificial intelligence while retaining and increasing trust. In this context, Deakin’s Professor Rajesh Vasa, who attended the Asia-Pacific AI event, told the webinar that “you can’t test trust into a system – you’ve got to engineer it in”.

Professor Vasa, the head of translational research and development at the university’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute, has also spoken elsewhere of the importance of nurturing talent, which can help build trusted AI solutions.

“Most Asia-Pacific universities have AI courses now and as a consequence we anticipate the talent with the background and education to make it into the workforce and support organisations leverage this new technology,” he said.

“We are seeing strong interest from governments around Asia-Pacific to develop strategies for attracting and developing talent in this space.”

Without such support, it would be difficult or even impossible to transform AI’s potential into reality, he said.

Meanwhile, Deakin has teamed up with EY to inject the efficiency of AI into audits, by working on an inventory analysis tool that removes guesswork from the process – just one of many “real world” problems the Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute is tackling.

Written by Larissa Ham