60% of Middle East business leaders see AI as crucial for economic success

Forbes Insights has revealed the latest findings of its State of Artificial Intelligence, AI, in the Middle East report in partnership with Ai Everything, at the two day Artificial Intelligence Summit, which concludes on Wednesday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The report was launched to an audience of elite technologists, global AI leaders, c-suite executives and government officials.

Having surveyed more than 100 C-Suite executives from across the Middle East, the report found that 62 percent of Middle East executives believe AI is emerging rapidly in their industry and 60 percent even remarked that their company has identified AI as a key enabler for their future success. As a result, 55 percent of respondents from across the region have already started to pilot AI projects within their companies and 26 percent have already implemented AI solutions within certain departments and business units.

Speaking during the launch, William Thompson, Publisher of Forbes AI, said, "The region suffers from a lack of access to high quality talent to implement a vision of enabling AI and using it for greater good. The top three reasons Middle Eastern executives are implementing AI are to improve operational efficiency, customer experience and enhance customer acquisition."

Unlike their global counterparts - from which only 20 percent said they have already introduced AI solutions - the driving force behind the adoption of AI in the Middle East are not their IT departments or their data scientists, but their Board of Directors and C-Suite executives with 74 percent and 67 percent respectively. For businesses participating in the survey, the AI is expected to improve operational efficiencies, enhance customer acquisition and accelerate customer experiences.

Implementing AI presents challenges as well. Companies commented that the availability of talent with AI expertise is one of the largest hurdles to overcome with 35 percent of respondents worried about it. For future-centric businesses, identifying where to start with the implementation of the technology and improvements in data governance and management represent yet more roadblocks with 32 percent and 30 percent respectively.

Only about half of all companies surveyed trust that AI makes the right decisions. 50 percent of respondents trust the technology to be able to make low-level routine decisions, such as flagging errors, sending notifications or managing system performances. Globally, companies have more faith in AI-powered systems with 64 percent trusting them to make high-level or strategic decisions for the company.

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