The Current State of AI and Machine Learning

AI and Software Development

The AI and machine learning industries have been growing for several decades. Over the last few years, the world has seen a great shift in AI. Numerous companies are integrating it into different sectors to improve business processes and increase profitability. However, despite the rapid growth, there is still a lot of room for development. Companies and organizations need to scale, adapt, and improve their AI programs. This article details the current state of AI and Machine Learning.

Also read: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in 2021

Key Findings Of the State of AI and Machine Learning In 2020

The AI and ML industry has seen a boom in its growth as compared to last year. Despite the coronavirus crisis, the field has not lacked behind. Some of the key takeaways from the analysis of AI and ML between 2019 and 2020 are listed below:

AI is critical to business

According to a survey conducted by the journal “The State of AI and Machine Learning”, 3 out of 4 organizations reported that AI played a critical role in their business.

AI is critical to business
Is AI critical to the success of your business?
Source: appen

Further, almost half of the people who said they were lacking in adopting AI said it was because of the gap between its need and execution.

Adopting AI in your business
Do you feel that your company is behind when it comes to adopting AI?
Source: appen

Increase in the budget allocated for AI and ML

The budget allocation for advancement and research in the AI and ML fields has also increased since 2019. Last year, only 39% of executive organizations had AI initiatives. This year, the numbers have increased to a staggering 71%. Due to this increase in executive ownerships, the budget allocation greater than $5 million has doubled.

Increase in the budget allocated for AI and ML
Do you have allocated budget for any AI initiatives?
Source: appen

The year on year analysis indicated that AI is growing significantly across various sectors. 27% of enterprise budgets are over $1 million, and out of these, 10% are above $5 million. Therefore, it is indicative that the future years might see a further increase in its worth.

Global cloud ML tools have also gained popularity in comparison to 2019. According to the survey, 2020 saw four times more respondents who used these ML providers. These include Microsoft Azure at 49%, Google Cloud at 36%, IBM Watson at 31%, AWS at 25%, and Salesforce Einstein at 17%. This is in comparison to last year’s 6%, 14%, 7%, 13% and 1% respectively.  

AI and ML tools and software
What data science/machine learning tool do you use?
Source: appen

Java programming language has also gained popularity as compared to 2019. Python’s AI initiatives usage has gone down from 91% in 2019 to 57% in 2020.

programming language for your AI projects
What programming language do you use most for your AI projects?
Source: appen

Unbiased AI is critical

Companies are also starting to realize the importance of responsible AI. However, 25% of the organizations said unbiased AI is the most important mission at the moment. Risk management is a key factor to consider while moving towards AI. Further, when dealing with large sets of data, biases come into play, impacting the overall outcome. Therefore, maintaining the bias and other external factors is also important. Apart from that, most companies are currently analyzing AI on ethics and governance as well.

What lenses are you using while thinking about AI?
What lenses are you using while thinking about AI?
Source: appen

Gap between Business Leaders and Technologists

The AI and ML industry is thriving. However, according to the State of AI report 2019, there was a significant difference between the way technologists and business leaders viewed it. The gap persists in 2020. This implied that professionals need to do further work to improve AI and Machine Learning today. Technologists and business leaders need to align to build a strong infrastructure to increase AI integration in organizations.

Regarding the core problems, most business leaders and technologists do not share the same views. These include budget allocation and bottlenecks. This can be problematic and present a hurdle in the advancement of the field. For example, when asked the biggest bottleneck in AI initiatives, 17% of technologists thought it was a lack of data. In comparison, only 9% of business leaders shared the same view. In terms of budget allocation, however, both parties seem to be somewhat in agreement.

bottleneck of your AI initiative
What do you consider the biggest bottleneck of your AI initiative?
Source: appen

No Negative Impact due to Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted several industries, causing the economy to fall. Every country has experienced the blow, causing businesses to shut down. The AI industry also experienced turbulence. However, about 2/3 of the survey respondents said they did not expect any negative impact on AI strategies from COVID.

70% of businesses said that COVID would not impact the AI and ML growth. In fact, it might accelerate the strategies due to an increased reliance on the internet. This would also push organizations to integrate AI systems into their infrastructure, improving resiliency, innovation, and efficiency.

Impact of COVID on AI and ML
Impact of COVID
Source: appen


Overall, the AI and ML industry has been growing for the past few years. The future is expected to see the same trend. The above observations were made through research and surveys by “appen” summarized in the 2020 publication of The State of AI and Machine Learning.

Integrating AI into business processes can improve efficiency and promote a better customer experience. It also gives you leverage over your market competitors and helps improve profitability in the long run. Although the initial investment might seem a lot, the turnaround is far greater.

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