Despite Growing Dependence on AI, IT Leaders Don't See AI Replacing Humans

Juniper Networks Research Finds High Artificial Intelligence Implementation Rates Across Asia Pacific Organizations While Governance Lags

Despite the growing use of AI and the benefits it brings, APAC IT Leaders believe more needs to be done to effectively deploy AI governance.

Juniper Networks, a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, today announced the findings of a global research project that shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organizations. However, a shortage of human talent still exists, and governance policies continue to lack in maturity – both of which are needed to responsibly manage AI’s growth when considering privacy issues, regulation compliance, hacking and AI terrorism.

Juniper partnered with Wakefield Research to conduct a survey of 700 senior IT leaders around the world with direct involvement in their organization’s AI and/or machine learning (ML) plans or deployments. The survey gauges sentiment around the value of AI, the perceived maturity of deployments and where challenges still exist.

This year’s survey found that enterprises have largely moved past proof-of-concepts and limited trials of AI and are now implementing AI across their organizations, thanks to pandemic-related digital acceleration and the maturation of AI tools available.

Within Asia Pacific (APAC), 92% of respondents reported that their organization already utilizes AI-powered solutions to automate or aid decision making, as compared to 2021’s report, where only 42% were reported to have done the same. The significant increase in overall AI implementation rates across APAC organizations is largely attributed to the benefits that AI can bring, with 52% of respondents agreeing that it will “assist in reducing risk and increasing quality” at work.

2022 saw increased enthusiasm for full AI adoption, whereas 2021 revolved around limited use cases

However, only 23% of APAC respondents reported a heavy reliance on AI to perform tasks, suggesting a strong belief in the advantages of AI but a lack of trust in them. This is further justified by the need for better AI governance as reflected in the survey results – while 95% of IT leaders surveyed globally agreed effective policies are crucial to stay ahead of future legislation, 61% of APAC respondents believe more needs to be done to effectively govern AI as it continues to be applied to more facets of business and life. More than half of APAC IT leaders (51%) reported their organizations to be at a more advanced growing stage of AI governance maturity, higher than both their EMEA and North American counterparts.

AI use will free up workers to focus on more strategic and creative areas

AI/ML leaders agree cybersecurity is a critical component to AI solutions at the enterprise level

“The data tells a clear story about the importance of holistic AI readiness and that leaders in the APAC IT sector are at the forefront of AI adoption. While the technology has essentially been rolled out and implementation rates have been healthy in the region, the critical next step is to manage organizations’ readiness to use AI responsibly by implementing essential governance protocols that not only protect enterprises, but also augments employees’ trust in the solution. It must be a cyclical process of execution with governance and policies updated regularly to address and reduce liabilities,” said Ming Kai Lee, Head of Systems Engineering, APAC, Juniper Networks. 

The research also found:

  • Despite growing dependence on AI, IT leaders do not see AI replacing humans, but instead enabling improved employee experiences by allowing them to free up their time to focus on more strategic tasks. About half of IT leaders in APAC say AI will allow employees to focus on being more innovative (54%), gain new skills (48%) and increase their engagement (50%).
  • With the increased growth in AI adoption, supporting the importance for security with AI solutions at the enterprise level is critical. AI/ML leaders in APAC indicate the top risks from inadequate oversight of AI as accelerated hacking or AI terrorism (44%) and privacy (41%). Regulation compliance (24%) and loss of human agency (27%) are also seen as top risks.
  • Almost all IT leaders in APAC (96%) say that in the next 12 months, AI will assist in reducing risk and increasing quality within their organization, with Networking/Cloud (23%), IT Infrastructure (25%) and Supply Chain (13%) as the business functions thought to have the greatest potential to derive benefits from implementing AI.
  • AI/ML leaders in APAC are taking steps to ensure employees are keeping up with AI growth including providing the tools and opportunities to apply newly acquired AI skills (38%), updating performance metrics to include AI (45%), developing a workforce plan that identifies new skills and roles (40%), and changing learning and development frameworks (50%).

“AI is ultimately designed to perform tasks on par with humans but at a higher scale via automation. Many of Juniper’s own customers are leveraging cloud AI in their networks to dramatically cut support tickets, which frees up IT teams from the drudgery of tactical issues, allowing them to focus on improving end-users’ experiences. In addition to all of the positive attributes of AI, enterprises also need to responsibly manage AI’s growth with proper governance to stay ahead of regulation and minimize potential negative impacts. AI regulation is changing quickly and business leaders must make AI governance a strategic priority, ” said Bob Friday, Chief AI Officer, Juniper Networks.

Methodology

In April 2022, Juniper Networks conducted primary research of organizations to assess company positions in the AI market. The survey (700 respondents), with a title of Senior Manager or higher, was conducted across more than 20 industries, including Technology, Healthcare, Retail, Automotive, Manufacturing, and Engineering/Construction, and covered AI market usage, acceptance, opportunities for growth, challenges in adoption, AI governance and strategic decisioning.





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