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Covid hasn't forced organizations to scale down AI investment

(Image credit: Image Credit: Razum / Shutterstock)

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to place some of their employees on furlough or, in more extreme cases, even lay them off.

In order to survive the lockdown and the overall decrease in spending, companies also cut their budgets and expenses, in many cases postponing and cancelling projects.

However, it appears technology investments - and investment in AI in particular - are relatively well insulated from the cuts. 

A new report from Gartner claims a quarter of businesses (24 percent) plan to increase their spending on AI-related projects, while almost half (42 percent) will leave it unchanged.

Further, the report states that, most businesses will start new AI initiatives by Q3 2021, as they move into the post-pandemic Renew phase.

For Frances Karamouzis, Distinguished Research VP at Gartner, the biggest challenge going forward will be to connect AI investments back to business value.

Seventy-nine per cent of respondents said their organizations were exploring or piloting AI projects, while only 21 percent stated their AI initiatives were in production, the report concluded.

Looking at the challenges businesses are facing, talent shortage doesn't seem to be one of them. A survey conducted late last year claims just seven percent cited limited AI skills as a barrier to implementation.

Instead, security and privacy concerns, as well as complexity of integrating AI within existing infrastructure, are considered the biggest roadblocks.