The Korea Herald


Only 3% of companies currently use AI: report

Half of companies expect AI to eventually replace personnel

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Jan. 14, 2021 - 18:05

    • Link copied

(123rf) (123rf)
Only 3.6 percent of companies have adopted artificial intelligence technology, a report from the Korea Development Institute showed Thursday.

To see how AI is being used or perceived in different sectors, the KDI conducted a survey of 1,000 companies with at least 20 employees, including conglomerates and small and midsized businesses.

Conglomerates made up 91.7 percent of all AI-using companies, according to the report. By industry, 55 percent of AI-using companies were in the service sector, followed by manufacturing with 36 percent.

Of the companies using AI technology, 77.8 percent said AI had had a positive impact on management and performance. These companies saw their sales go up by 4.3 percent on average after implementing AI technology.

But about half of the AI-using companies said they had experienced an increase in operating costs.

Of the companies not using AI, 89 percent said they had no plans to introduce it. Only 38.9 percent of the AI-using companies said they intended to bring in more AI technology.

With only about 5 percent of the companies having an AI specialist or team on board, the respondents said the biggest obstacle was the lack of an AI technology or solution that fit the firm’s needs.

Half the businesses, however, said AI would replace human workers and cost jobs. They predicted that it would take 20 years for AI to replace over 50 percent of personnel.

The companies picked the medical and health sector as the one most likely to be affected by AI technology, followed by transport, media and logistics, the report said.

To increase the use of AI technology on the front lines, the respondents suggested providing research and development support, offering training for AI personnel, building proper infrastructure and improving regulations.

Despite the government’s recent announcements that it would invest large amounts in AI and related fields, the KDI said, the low adoption rate of AI technology means the AI ecosystem is not working properly, so the government’s role as a facilitator is crucial.

The government should make efforts to transform AI into general-purpose technology that can be used by all companies, including small and midsized businesses, rather than only by certain data-driven companies, the KDI added.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (