The multinational business consulting firm of the NTT DATA group, in collaboration with MIT Technology Review in Spanish, presented the second edition of a study on the state of maturity in the AI implementation in Latin America.
There is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) has become one of the most interesting technologies today. Nowadays, in all continents, the evolution of AI use in business proposals is making transcendental changes. In this sense, NTT DATA along with MIT, once again, conducted an impressive research that collects information on the current state, the main challenges and the state of maturity of AI in companies in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, in 2021 and points to the possibilities of this technology for business in the region.
“Artificial Intelligence in Latin America 2021” is a survey where 70 participants from LATAM countries have taken part, of which 69% emphasize the relevance of AI and point to its use as a revolutionary lever in their organizations, highlighting a progress in the adoption of this technology in the region, compared to the previous edition.
“We have already passed the tipping point where some believed and others did not. We agree that AI cuts across all aspects of our daily lives, and it continues to expand equally in the corporate world. Professionals would not exist without its application and there is no doubt that it is the future,” says Evandro Armelin, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at NTT DATA.
“Today, AI implementation in the marketplace is a reality where corporations recognize the high impact value in both increasing productivity, improving customer satisfaction and/or increasing sales. There is still a way to go and companies continue to face obstacles blocking its development such as integration, agility pipelines and data collection difficulties. The next step will be to break these barriers and AI will reach a state of maturity that will allow the explosion of this practice in every industry,” added Mauro Avendaño, Chief Technology Officer of NTT DATA Argentina.
The evolution of AI development in Latin America
As highlights of the study, it could be observed that:
●40% of the companies have been using this technology for between one and three years.
●They are focused on the development of projects and pilots.
●16% plan to start applying it next year.
●14% have started implementing it during 2021.
●50% of the companies surveyed have a team or area as responsible for driving AI initiatives. In those without a clear assignment of roles, it is the CEO who is in charge of decision making.
Benefits and challenges of implementation
Respondents ranked productivity increase 68.6% as the main benefit, with 57% customer satisfaction as a highly valued advantage, due to the fact that companies have a strong interest in improving customer experience through AI. Another outstanding benefit is the increase in sales that Latin American companies have experienced with the use of AI, with a representation of 54.3%, in operations, with 41.5%, the optimization of operational processes is the fourth perceived benefit, followed by the analysis of patterns and the making of predictions, both with 22.8%.
However, one of the biggest challenges, according to 50% of the companies surveyed, is data collection. Issues that today are putting a brake on the application of AI, not only in Latin America, but in the world.
Reflections and challenges for the future of AI
There are two topics that emerged in this second edition of the study which highlighted as issues to reflect on and address for the future and evolution of the application of AI in the Region and the rest of the world.
The first is ethics in the use of AI. Latin American companies have claimed to be more concerned about data protection issues and also about the ethics of AI. However, Evandro believes that “as we impact on personal lives and in the professional sphere, we need to be more careful and know what the limits are, to know how far we can intervene, how far we can invade people’s privacy with algorithms and automate their actions. It’s a pending issue but concerns about it are going to lead us in the right direction as long as the following principles are taken into account: relevance, robustness and security, respect for human autonomy and transparency.”
The second point is to think about how to apply AI structurally and how we will be able to implement it at scale. Understanding how to industrialize this resource will be the future to optimize and exploit this technology, which continues to grow. Some companies have already started to think about how to implement MLOps, ModelOps and other working methodologies to accelerate the implementation of AI.