LONDON – 41% of British companies believe their current business models will no longer exist in the next five years because of artificial intelligence, a research survey conducted by Microsoft has revealed.

The new report, entitled Maximising the AI Opportunity, surveyed over 5,000 UK-based business leaders and employees in order to better understand how organisations are faring on their own AI journey as 2018 comes to a close. Key findings include:

  • 41% of business leaders feel that their current business models will cease to exist within the next five years due to AI, up from 38% in 2017.
  • 67% of leaders and 59% of employees claim to be open to experimenting with AI to accomplish new things at work.
  • Only 5% of respondents agreed that their organisation “has a clear and formal AI strategy“.
  • Organisations already on their AI journey are outperforming other organisations by 5% on factors such as productivity, performance, and business outcomes.

Cindy Rose, CEO of Microsoft UK, said that, based on these findings, success tomorrow requires action today. “Often, a good place to start the journey towards unlocking the power of AI is with asking questions. Questions like what are the business problems we want to solve – and how can AI help? What are the opportunities we are missing? Is our data ready? Are our people ready? And, if not, how can we re-skill and re-train them so that technology augments their role rather than simply automates it?”

The research, conducted in partnership with Goldsmiths, the University of London, and YouGov, goes on to identify five dimensions to the AI opportunity for businesses:

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Another key focus of the report is the responsible deployment of AI. The research finds that adopting a proactive approach to AI ethics, values, and commitments outperform other companies by an average of 9%. As a result, Microsoft argue that the question leaders must ask is “not what AI technologies are capable of doing, but what they should be allowed to do.”

Microsoft UK CEO Rose added: “How society business, and people adapt to AI will become one of the most pressing considerations of this generation and the next. Only by applying AI in the right way can we unlock its extraordinary potential for good,” she said. “It is our firm belief at Microsoft that a human-centric approach can help organisations positively impact their businesses, employees, and customers. Yet success tomorrow requires action today – organisations must act now to maximise the AI opportunity.”

Read the full report here