Three Big Takeaways From Amazon’s Keystone Study on AI and Business

Executives expect AI investments to pay off, but getting there will also cost more cash.

Amazon Web Services just rolled out a new landmark study on AI’s burgeoning impact on business, and on the people who run those businesses in the (early) age of artificial intelligence.

The study, titled “Accelerating AI Skills: Preparing the Workforce for Jobs of the Future”, canvassed employees and leaders at 1, 240 U.S. companies. In it, AWS covers a lot of ground with data that any executive should find useful when making decisions about their own AI deployments.

Here are three “top takeaways” from the AWS study.

Senior company leaders certainly expect AI to boost productivity and revenue.

The Amazon study leads off with a fairly amazing statistic on AI business usage, given the relative nascency of artificial intelligence across the corporate landscape.

Even if the perception is that AI is fresh out of the box, 92% of U.S. companies surveyed expect to have deployed AI tools and technologies by 2028. As this trend lifts off, business leaders don’t expect AI to be limited to the technology suite.

“While most employers (92%) believe their IT departments will be the biggest beneficiary of AI, they also believe other departments, from sales and marketing (85%) to human resources (78%), will derive significant value from it as well,” the report states. “Most (leaders) see AI offering significant benefits for their organizations by automating employees’ tasks (64%), highlighting this as a key benefit; improving workflows and outcomes (58%); enhancing communications (54%); and helping their employees learn new skills (50%).”

Gen AI Seems to be the “Jumping Off” Point.

An almost equal number of company executives surveyed for the study (93%) say Generative AI will be a company mainstay by 2028, as well.

“Generative AI—a type of AI that can create new content and ideas quickly, including conversations, stories, images, videos, music, and more—has captured mainstream attention in the past year,” Amazon reports. “Considering this momentum, it’s not surprising that more than 93% of employers and 86% of employees expect to use generative AI within the next five years to increase innovation and creativity, automate repetitive tasks, and boost learning.”

Companies Can Expect to “Pay Up” For Skilled AI Specialists.

Already, Silicon Valley is flooded with rumors of $800,000 AI senior engineering staffers and $400,000 AI linguistics specialists. Those rumors may become fact before too long – if they haven’t done so already.

A case in point: the study finds “strong demand” for AI talent who can expect to earn up to 47% more in salaries than non-AI trained specialists.

“With substantial potential to improve operational efficiency, worker productivity, and decision-making, surveyed employers are willing to pay higher wages to employees with AI skills and expertise,” Amazon notes. “Notably, while employers are willing to pay an average of 47% more for IT workers with AI skills, the study found that pay benefits will extend across departments. Employers said that they would be willing to pay workers with AI skills a premium in sales and marketing (43% higher salary); finance (42%); business operations (41%); legal, regulatory, and compliance (37%); and human resources (35%).”

Naturally, that should lead to a burgeoning cottage industry of AI training platforms to help eager workers of all ages learn those skills.

“Overall, nearly 80% of workers surveyed mentioned that they would be interested in developing AI skills to advance their careers,” the study added. “This interest in AI transcends generations. For example, about two-thirds of workers over the age of 55, a demographic usually thinking about retirement, say they would enroll in AI upskilling courses if employers offered them.”

The entire AWS study is well worth a closer look – find it here.

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