According to the CIO 100, 38% of CIOs expect AI to have an impact on their sector, with organisations including AstraZeneca, DEFRA and Hargreaves Lansdown currently using the technology. This interest in AI has seen CIOs and organisations investigate and implement AI to help with a variety of tasks, from monitoring customers to improving the overall efficiency of their business model.
CIO UK looks at how some leading CIOs are using AI within their organisations to increase staff productivity, reduce costs and increase customer engagement.
"Machine learning and AI is something we've just started to track as it will have an impact at some point on the operation of the railway, but it's early days from a railways systems perspective and there is always a bit of reticence around bleeding-edge technology where safety is critical."
James Findlay, HS2 former CIO
"AI is coming on in leaps and bounds. Things that were ropey not that long ago are getting good very quickly. Speech-to-text recognition is really phenomenal now; there's really good text-to-speech that we are experimenting with at the FT.
"All of this with AI is not aimed at replacing journalism but augmenting it, how can we use those things to make sure our journalists are concentrating on the high-value content that's going to really drive engagement while removing some of the repetitive steps they may have concentrated on in the past."
Cait O’Riodan, Financial Times’ Chief Product and Information Officer
"I've seen some early prototypes in our North American labs of virtual agents – be that chatbots, be that the recently announced integration into Amazon's Alexa product – and I think we'll see a lot more of virtual agents in the financial services industry and other industries; I think it's a good example of helping customers interact with financial services companies with a lot less friction."
Rob Harding, Capital One Europe Chief Operations and Technology Officer
"Things like using Tensor Flow [Google's open source AI framework], AI is really starting to get interesting and seeing how we can use that to help UK Households to save more money will be fun!"
Tim Jones, Moneysupermarket.com Group CIO
"For me, the coming year is all about the big data side of it. And that's going to be the new frontier along with artificial intelligence, machine learning - which allows us to automate more of the diagnostic process. Those are challenges we've started work on and in the next year we're going to see those actually bringing benefits and operationalised into care settings. It's going to take time before we are doing this en masse; these are very early days - but it is real now."
Rachel Dunscombe, Salford Royal Group's Director of Digital
"In a large [case] such as Rolls-Royce, which resulted in a £671m settlement, we had 70 investigators working to review over 30 million documents. It's just not possible to manually review that amount of data, so we worked with our technology partners to develop an AI robot to assist with that. We were able to prove that this approach is both more accurate and much more efficient than human review alone – in some instances at one-fifth of the cost.
"The volume of data in our cases is increasing exponentially, and it won't be long before we have one that is two or three times the size of Rolls. Because of that, using machine learning techniques will be an essential and critical part of every investigation in the future so we can move faster and deliver better value for money."
Ben Denison, Serious Fraud Office's CTO
"We are currently developing a week-long training programme at Imperial College for our high-potential technical experts. The course will cover the latest developments in AI, data analytics, system design and system engineering, IoT and wearables, biometrics, chip design, NFC and various other areas.
"New techniques in AI, data analytics and management of large data sets are particular areas of focus, and we're increasingly open-sourcing our own products and leveraging third-party open source in our products."
Sarah Wilkinson, Home Office former CTO
"Driving innovation is a critical part of our job for clients. Knowing and being able to leverage all of these technologies is an imperative for us. AI and predictive analytics projects have now been running within the organisation for over two years."
Trevor Attridge, MEC former CIO
"I am specifically interested in machine learning, AI and data analytics and how this can help us make better decisions, be more productive so we can focus our people on strategic thinking and development."
Kelly Olsen, NHS Property Services CIO
"AI will certainly be used. We will develop this to detect patterns in clinical records and make recommendations which will form the personalisation of care. Our new PHR [Personal Health Record platform] will be part of this."
Stephen Docherty, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust's CIO
"Social networks are a great way to keep on top of all the latest news, information and trends in the technology industry. We use social networks to share our latest thinking or share news on topics of interest to our business such as AI, VR, IoT and cloud computing."
Jane Moran, Unilever's Global CIO
"We have encompassed their knowledge and experience and used numerous references and visits to other organisations to challenge current ways of working and culture. Specific examples include running an executive digital innovation day at Deloitte Digital Studio to educate on future trends such as AI, Robotics, IOT, and agree on strategic areas for adoption and investment."
Andrew Quail, SGN Director of IT
"We are investigating how to use advances in AI and off-the-shelf products like Amazon Echo and SightPlus to enable young people who are carers for elderly or disabled family members to have the time to attend our online programmes."
David Ivell, Prince’s Trust’s CIO