Study: A quarter of Flemish companies use artificial intelligence

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Just under a quarter of Flemish companies use at least one form of artificial intelligence during their business operations. This is apparent from a new study by the Flemish Minister of Innovation. More than three quarters of Flemish companies do not yet use AI.

The AI ​​barometer commissioned by the Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation, Hilde Crevits, shows that 23.2 percent of 1,717 Flemish companies indicate that they use at least one form of artificial intelligence. 76.8 percent of companies indicate that they do not use AI during their business operations. More than 63 percent of the latter group of Flemish companies would have no plans for this either. The authors behind the study state that the adoption of AI by Flemish companies is ‘limited’.

They see the lack of knowledge, skills and expertise among Flemish companies as the biggest stumbling block to a higher degree of technology adaptation. According to the study, this deficiency applies to both adopters and non-adopters and refers to legislative, ethical aspects, but also to the general knowledge of the ‘AI landscape’. Companies would also face difficulties estimating the effects of artificial intelligence on their business. 76 percent of companies that have not yet adopted AI see only “limited” use for it, according to the study.

The companies that do invest in AI use the technology in 31.4 percent of the cases for the organization of administrative processes. 31 percent of adopters use the technology for IT security and 24.6 percent of Flemish companies use AI for sales purposes. If we look at concrete applications, we see that AI is most often used for text analysis (9.8 percent) and process automation (8.3 percent). Image recognition software is used in 6.8 percent of the cases, while machine learning, to predict customer behavior or business processes, is used in 6.6 percent of the cases. The study shows that autonomous machines are the least used AI technology (3.5 percent).

According to the researchers, the Flemish information and communication sector uses artificial intelligence the most. 23 percent of companies in that sector use speech recognition, 19.8 percent text analysis and 19.3 percent natural language generation. In addition, medium (50-249 employees) and large companies (more than 249 employees) have the highest adoption rate when it comes to AI. Micro-companies (5-9 employees) and small businesses (10-49 employees) are “systematically underrepresented” in the use of AI, according to the researchers. They could benefit most from AI technology to boost their business, according to the study.

Thresholds adoption of AI technologies – Flemish AI Barometer 2022