Global technology consultancy Infosys’ latest research report on artificial intelligence, which spanned seven countries and received responses from 1,053 C-level executives, has revealed concerns about the technology are still being felt by business leaders.

Research findings showed 87 per cent of respondents in the Australian finance sector believe AI is outpacing the accuracy and productivity of humans performing the same task and, indeed, 37 per cent of all survey respondents admitted their organisations had made positions redundant because of AI deployment.

Among Australian respondents in the finance sector, 78 per cent of C-suite executives were experiencing difficulty sourcing talent to lead AI technology integration.

“It’s fair to say Australia currently has an AI skills gap, and this could be holding some Australian business leaders back from deploying AI across their organisation,” ‎Infosys senior vice president and regional head of Australia and New Zealand Andrew Groth said.

“But with retraining, providing more experiential learning and nurturing the next generation, we can keep up with this evolution.”

However, the research showed that a high percentage of Australian decision-makers are nonetheless recognising the benefits of implementing artificial intelligence, with 89 per cent of Australian businesses reportedly having adopted AI technology, compared with 65 per cent last year.

Furthermore, the findings showed 78 per cent of IT decision-makers in the Australian financial services industry were using AI to develop solutions critical to the business, with the same percentage of the industry’s C-level suite executives feeling their future business strategies hinged on artificial intelligence.

More than half (57 per cent) of Australian business leaders were concerned about AI benefiting competitors, compared with 16 per cent last year.

Commenting on the research findings, Mr Groth said the increase in AI deployment since the previous year was driven by a “greater sense of competition and urgency within the business world”.

“As leaders have started to notice competitors adopting AI technology they are beginning to look at the right AI strategy for their organisation in a bid to remain competitive,” Mr Groth said.

Infosys president Mohit Joshi admitted that while there was a “tremendous amount of hype” surrounding AI, businesses were beginning to see “clear and measurable results”.

“Industry disruption from AI is no longer imminent, it is here,” he said.

“The organisations that embrace AI with a clearly defined strategy and use AI to amplify their workforce rather than replace it, will take the lead, and those that don’t will fall behind or find themselves irrelevant.”