In business, if you’re not ahead of your competition, you’re behind. This has been true ever since the Industrial Revolution. Early adopters of technology generally become industry leaders. That’s certainly how it worked at ICUC, because here we are, 16 years later, setting global standards for internet moderation and consumer listening.
Today, we’re proud to use human-led artificial intelligence to service our clients and keep them on the cutting edge of consumer feedback and customer response.
To get here, we had to understand what technology could do for us, then gamble on it. Now, that same dilemma faces businesses in all kinds of industries: What’s technology offering, and how much should be invested in betting on it?
Recently, we asked our team to perform a “state of the union” study with a artificial intelligence survey. What was the media saying about AI? How often was AI mentioned? What did businesses think about AI? How soon did companies feel AI would start affecting their business, especially if they didn’t opt in? How could AI benefit them? To what extent?
The results taught us the public and business worlds sit on the cusp of accepting that AI will be necessary in all our lives – from our homes through to offices, retail locations, and factories, and to great extents.
It seems we’re only now realizing the scope of possibility in AI, and it’ll take more understanding, and imagination too, before businesses go big on investing in it.
Our electronic opt-in artificial intelligence survey of American companies was performed across five industries in companies with a minimum of 100 employees. Those industries included retail, dining, brand agencies, consumer-packaged goods, and hospitality. Our respondents were director-level professionals in social media, marketing, and digital divisions.
We asked that target audience, on a scale of one to ten, with ten being “extremely important” or “extremely likely,” several artificial intelligence survey questions.
Up first was how important they felt it was to find AI solutions in their businesses right now. The answer? A nearly even split, at an average of 5.5, or “somewhat important.” Reading between the lines, it seems that if an AI solution to their needs presented itself, it wouldn’t be shunned, but most aren’t hunting for one.
When further asked how they felt AI might impact their business today, responses came in at an average of 6/10 for impact. That’s to say they feel it’d impact things, but wouldn’t be a game-changer.
Nearly 68% of respondents to the artificial intelligence survey said they were not currently using AI in their business in any way. But, of those who said artificial intelligence was at work in their companies, nearly 60% said AI was employed for marketing purposes, and 45% have it tasked to data processing.
When we asked whether AI incorporated into social media management is considered a “feature” or a “benefit,” 60% said they felt it’d be both. Just 25% felt it would be beneficial for social media management, but not a “feature”. In what we thought was good news for ICUC, only 3% of respondents felt AI would be “undesirable” or detrimental in social media practices.
But did they think AI could positively affect their business right here, right now? Well, that was pretty split, with the average response being about a 6 out 10.
We asked our artificial intelligence survey-takers if artificial intelligence is already affecting their business, or when they felt that impact might come. We were told:
Shockingly, in just a year, public awareness and discussion of AI skyrocketed. From the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017, mentions of AI have literally doubled. Furthermore, awareness of machine learning has shot up considerably too. Last year, only 2% of AI mentions included “machine learning,” but it presented in more than 11% of this year’s AI conversations.
In fact, when scouring search patterns on browsers, we found that, in early 2015, it was basically a three-way tie for searches on:
Another surprise for us were the gender and age divides on AI. Over two-thirds of public mentions of artificial intelligence were made by men, and, more than 85% of the time, by people over the age of 35.
When it came to emotional sentiment about artificial intelligence, positive and negative reactions were almost deadlocked, but a whopping 74% were neutral on AI. When those sentiments were analyzed more deeply, the most prevalent emotion was joy, present in 39% of comments, but second-strongest was anger, registering 28% of the feedback.
Geographically, interest in artificial intelligence is biggest in states with strong political ties or vibrant tech industries. The top per capita region for social media AI mentions was, in fact, the District of Columbia. Next up? Massachusetts, New York, and California, in that order. But in terms of pure volume of mentions, California, thanks to its huge population, commanded 26% total of the dialogue on artificial intelligence.
Turning to brands in the public eye, Google’s DeepMind and its more than 1,000 applications of artificial intelligence at work throughout its brands make Google the leading AI brand mention. In fact, Google netted 2.5 times the mentions of its nearest competitor, Microsoft. Mentions scaled down from there. Apple received half those of Microsoft, and Tesla was referred to just half as often as Apple.
Other stories that have fascinated the public in recent months include:
From big business seeing AI’s impact less than five years away through to public discourse on AI doubling on social media in just a year, there’s only one conclusion we need to infer: Artificial intelligence in no longer the realm of science fiction, nor that of nerds and geeks.
If you’re not using AI to help you get ahead in business, why not? Listen to the numbers, listen to the people, and listen to us. We’ll help you take AI from being an abstract idea to using it to grow your bottom line.