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AI Is All the Rage. So Why Aren’t More Businesses Using It?

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A new report says fewer than 10% of companies are taking advantage of artificial intelligence in their businesses

Credit: Elena Lacey

In late 2017, AB InBev, the Belgian giant behind Budweiser and other beers, began adding a little artificial intelligence to its brewing recipe. Using data collected from a brewery in Newark, NJ, the company developed an AI algorithm to predict potential problems with the filtration process used to remove impurities from beer.

Paul Silverman, who runs the New Jersey Beer Company, a small operation not far from the AB InBev brewery, says his team isn't even using computers, let alone artificial intelligence (AI). "We sit around tasting beer and thinking about what to make next," he says. "We're very un-computerized."

The divide between the two breweries highlights the pace at which AI is being adopted by U.S. companies. With so much hype around artificial intelligence, you might imagine that it's everywhere. In fact, a new report says fewer than 10 percent of companies—primarily larger ones—are using the technology.

The findings emerge from one of the broadest efforts to date to gauge the use of AI. The US Census Bureau surveyed 583,000 US businesses in late 2018 about their use of AI and other advanced technologies. The results were revealed in a research paper presented at a virtual conference held by the National Bureau of Economic Research on July 16.


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