For “100%” GenAI Immersion, Look to the East

The future is now for artificial intelligence along the Pacific rim.

No doubt, generative AI has whipped up a ton of enthusiasm in the business sector, but is it to the extent that 100% of a country’s companies are on board with the technology?

Yet that’s exactly where India stands at the cusp of 2024, with a new Ernst & Young study reporting a full 100% of the Far East giant’s CEOs are “making or planning” big investments in generative AI as of December, 2023. Another 84% say they’re either boosting new capital campaigns or reallocating cash from other pockets of the company budget to invest in GenAI.

While 100% is as impressive a commitment as one might expect, India’s chief executives have some qualms about their GenAI campaigns, as they struggle to keep up with the technology’s high-speed transformation.

“Investing in an AI-enabled future is easier said than done as more than half of CEO respondents (62%) say the rapid pace of GenAI progress and regulatory environment restrict their capital allocation decisions on GenAI initiatives,” EY reports. “Over three-fourths (78%) also believe a surge in companies claiming to have AI expertise complicates decisions about identifying and implementing credible ecosystem partnerships and acquisition targets.”

Is GenAI a “Rush Job?”

India’s CEOs appear to be convinced that GenAI tools and applications can help their businesses grow but at an uncomfortable price.

“While 84% of CEOs see the need to act quickly on generative AI to avoid giving their competitors a strategic advantage, a similar proportion (80%) also state that the uncertainty around this space, makes it challenging to act quickly,” the report notes.

It’s not just India’s corporate sector that’s pushing for AI implementations across the board, lighting speed or not. The country’s public policy leaders seem to have caught the GenAI fever, too.

“India stands at the forefront of the AI revolution, poised to harness the potential of Generative AI to transform industries and improve the lives of millions,” says Mahesh Makhija, a partner and national leader at EY India. “With a unique digital approach, a vast data advantage, and a thriving ecosystem of talent and innovation, India has the economic and political strength to set the agenda for this new technological era.”

By “embracing” an AI-first approach, businesses must build a robust foundation, focusing on platforms, people, and processes, before going all in on AI, Makhija says.

“However, for India to truly lead, strategic policy initiatives are crucial, necessitating increased government involvement, infrastructure support, data accessibility, and responsible AI governance,” he notes. “This is India’s moment to shape the future of the AI-led Industrial Revolution.”

The country’s corporate leaders seem to agree, even if many Indian CEOs have reservations about the “speed risk” surrounding their GenAI implementations.

“Despite this, a compelling 82% of CEOs express confidence that the integration of generative AI will empower them to enhance their capabilities as effective leaders,” EY notes. “This resounding belief reflects a widespread recognition of the transformative potential that generative AI holds for business leadership.”

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