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Businesses prefer out-of-the-box AI software, with some tweaks

ITHACA, NY – Artificial intelligence has fundamentally changed almost every industry, from manufacturing and retail to construction and agriculture. And as AI becomes more and more ubiquitous, businesses often opt for off-the-shelf technologies that can be modified to meet their needs.

Chris Forman, a professor at Cornell University, was part of a research team that examined companies’ decisions to adopt AI technology and how that adoption was brought about: by purchasing off-the-shelf software; by developing their own; or with a hybrid strategy, which researchers say could reflect “complementarity” between procurement approaches.

In an analysis of more than 3,000 European companies, they found that many of them – particularly in science, retail, finance, real estate and manufacturing – are increasingly opting for off-the-shelf technology that can be tailored to specific business needs. Even though AI appears to threaten the human workforce, these findings indicate that workers with AI-related skills will still be needed.

“In the vast majority of industries, companies are doing both out-of-the-box and in-house development, and I think it’s an interesting question for future work to understand why that’s the case,” he said. said Forman, co-author of the study. study which was published in the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy.

“Off-the-shelf software is important,” he said, “but for the vast majority of companies it doesn’t seem like it can replace in-house software, which suggests it won’t, at least In the short term, eliminate the need for AI-related skills.

The study data included companies from 10 industry sectors, with the largest share coming from manufacturing (19%), trade and retail (18%), and construction (12%). Sectors with the smallest proportion of respondents included agriculture (4%) and utilities (3%).

Companies most often use AI for several purposes: fraud or risk detection; optimization of processes or equipment; and process automation in warehouses or robotics.

Among the findings: The financial and scientific sectors – and to a lesser extent IT – preferred to develop and customize their own software while agriculture, construction and human health preferred ready-made solutions.

Forman said that in the past, as new technologies became more widespread, demand for different types of skills emerged. “Historically, the net effect has tended to be that, overall, labor demand increases,” he said, “but it remains to be seen what happens in this case “.

Support for this work came from the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research.

For more information see this History of the Cornell Chronicle.

Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews.


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