AI use by businesses is small but growing rapidly, led by IT sector and firms in Colorado and DC

The number of companies in the US using AI is still relatively small but is growing rapidly, with companies in information technology and in locations like Colorado and the District of Columbia leading the way, according to a new paper from researchers at the US Census Bureau .

The overall use of AI tools by companies in the production of goods and services increased from 3.7% last fall to 5.4% in February, and is expected to rise to 6.6% in the US in early 2019. the fall, according to the agency’s Business Trends and Outlook. Survey published this spring.

Business use of AI is still quite small because many companies have not yet seen a need for it, Census Bureau researchers say in an accompanying article.

“Many small businesses, such as barber shops, nail salons or dry cleaners, may not yet see a use for AI, but this may change with the growing business applications of AI,” they say. “One possible explanation is the current lack of AI applications for a wide range of business problems.”

Few companies using AI tools reported laying off employees as a result. Instead, many companies using AI grew compared to other companies. They also developed new workflows, trained staff on the technology and purchased related services, the researchers said.

The percentage of AI use in business varied widely, from 1.4% in construction and agriculture to 18.1% in information technology. According to the researchers, larger companies were more likely to use the technology than small and medium-sized companies, but the smallest companies used it more often than medium-sized companies.

The type of work AI was used for the most common marketing tasks, customer service chatbots, making computers understand human languages, text and data analysis, and voice recognition.

Erik Paul, the chief operating officer of an Orlando software development company, has been using AI tools for about a year to generate images for marketing materials, help write compliance paperwork that can be tedious and compare different versions of documentation for products.

“It has become an integral part of our day,” Paul said Thursday. ‘But the problem is you can’t trust it. You can never copy and paste blindly. Sometimes the context is dismissed and erroneous details are added that are not helpful or change the tone of the topic you are writing about.”

The two places with the highest AI use by businesses in the country, Colorado and the District of Columbia, had an adoption rate of 7.4% and 7.2%, respectively. Not far behind these states were Florida, Delaware, California and Washington State. Mississippi had the smallest AI use at 1.7% of companies.

The research shows that there is some ambivalence among companies about whether they will implement or continue to use AI in their business in the near future. Two-thirds of companies not yet using AI say they expect not to remain users, and 14% of companies not yet using the technology are unsure if they will in the future.

About 14% of current users reported that they did not expect to continue using AI in the near future, “potentially indicating some degree of continued experimentation or temporary use that could lead to adoption,” the researchers said.

The statistical agency plans to continue monitoring AI use by companies, Ron Jarmin, deputy director of the Census Bureau, said Thursday.

“As far as I know, we are now at a place where we can measure the spread of a general-purpose technology through the economy to learn what impact it is having,” Jarmin said.


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