Alice In The AI Race: Speed Vs. Precision

 Accenture AI Race

Where are we in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) race?

In Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking-Glass, the Red Queen explains to Alice that her country is a place where “it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"


This seems to be the sentiment business and IT executives encounter today as they try to keep up with the rapid pace of technology advancements, particularly when it comes to AI.


The semiconductor industry is arguably at the forefront of the latest tech developments and innovation. Yet, in our Accenture Technology Vision 2018 survey, a staggering 90 percent of semiconductor executives agreed AI is advancing faster than their company’s pace of adoption. Other industries raising their hands high on this question include life sciences (85 percent) and downstream oil and gas (84 percent).


Across industries globally, 78 percent of business and IT executives believe AI is advancing faster than their organization’s pace of adoption.

Accenture AI Adoption Rate Agreeance Chart

 As the White Rabbit remarks, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

Despite this perpetual sense of falling behind, organizations working with AI must not get ahead of themselves. Before taking on full-scale AI rollouts, they must confront and address fundamental questions, such as

  • What governance structures are in place for AI?

  • What procedures are needed to ensure appropriate audits of the data used to train and inform AI systems?

  • How much autonomy are you willing to give to your AI systems?


Above all, AI systems need to be explainable and transparent—and we’re not there yet. According to the Tech Vision survey, a mere 16 percent of organizations report that their employees fully understand the general principles (data, criteria, etc.) used to make AI-based decisions in their organization. And, what about customers and citizens who will demand this transparency as well?


“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?” - Alice to the Caterpillar in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

To win the ultimate race, companies must realize that it’s not all about speed. They must build and sustain trust in their AI systems in a responsible manner. Leaders are beginning to recognize this: 72 percent of organizations seek to gain customer trust and confidence by being transparent in their AI-based decisions and actions.


Accenture AI Progress Chart


In Through the Looking-Glass, the Unicorn says to Alice, “Well, now that we have seen each other, if you believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?” I’d say it’s more than a bargain. It’s the way forward that organizations must embrace to be relevant and thrive.  

Tags: artificial intelligence


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