Artificial Intelligence

O'Reilly 2023 report on Generative AI highlights 67% adoption

22nd November 2023
Kristian McCann

O'Reilly has released a comprehensive global survey report on generative AI in the enterprise. Surveying over 2,800 technology professionals, the report delves into how companies are utilising generative AI, the challenges in its adoption, and the essential skills needed to advance these technologies. 

Mary Treseler, Chief Content Officer at O'Reilly, noted, "Generative AI opens new doors for businesses, offering growth and operational optimisation opportunities and unique customer experiences. However, managing this evolving technology effectively requires the right talent. This report reveals that we're yet to fully realise generative AI's potential, and there's still time for organisations to focus on developing crucial skills."

Rapid adoption and potential for growth

Generative AI's adoption has been unprecedented, with 67% of surveyed professionals reporting its use in their companies. Of these, 38% have been working with AI for less than a year. While some speculate that AI may be reaching its hype peak, the survey indicates significant growth potential. As generative AI evolves, model training and application development are becoming more accessible. The proliferation of open-source models, used by 16% of respondents, is reducing resource needs. A range of new tools, including those for prompt automation and vector databases for document retrieval, are making generative AI more attainable.

Challenges and skill gaps

Despite its widespread adoption, many companies are in the nascent stages of using generative AI. The primary hurdles identified are finding appropriate use cases (53%) and navigating legal, risk, and compliance issues (38%). The accelerated integration of generative AI is also increasing demand for skilled technology workers, particularly in AI programming, data analysis, and AI/ML operations.

Applications and risks of generative AI

The report shows that 54% of AI users expect increased productivity from generative AI tools, with only 4% foreseeing a reduction in workforce. Currently, the most common applications are in programming, data analysis, and customer-facing applications, with significant use in marketing and content generation. Companies are also cautious, testing for unexpected outcomes, security vulnerabilities, and issues related to fairness, bias, ethics, and privacy.

Emerging trends and future directions

Reflecting generative AI's early adoption phase, 34% of organisations are at the proof-of-concept stage, while 18% have applications in production. A shift from prepackaged AI to custom application development is evident, requiring investment in human and technical resources. Interestingly, 23% of respondents use GPT models, with 16% building on open-source alternatives, indicating a dynamic environment beyond popular models like GPT.

Mike Loukides, Vice President of Content Strategy at O'Reilly and the report's author, cautions against the risks of rapid AI adoption. "Taking a pragmatic approach, investing in training and resources, and creatively deploying AI are crucial. As the report concludes, companies leveraging AI effectively will surpass those that don't," he states.

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