TechInAfrica – According to the AI Maturity Report in South Africa conducted by Ernst & Young and commissioned by Microsoft, South African organizations invested around $1.6 billion (R23.5 billion) in artificial intelligence technologies during the past decade. The new findings were based on surveys, interviews, and case studies from 112 companies across the Middle East and Africa regions.
The new research reveals that South African companies showing a willingness to embrace AI and experiment using the new technology. Around 46% of South African companies said that they are actively piloting AI in their organizations.
In South Africa, the research surveyed MTN, Discovery, Standard Bank, De Beers, TymeBank, BCX, Hello Group, Nampak, and Medscheme, among others. Out of the surveyed countries, South Africa emerged as the third largest regional investor in AI. South African organizations said that they believe that AI has the potential to improve efficiency, productivity, and generate revenue to their businesses.
Businesses are experimenting with various different technologies, such as chatbots, robotic process automation, and advanced analytics. About 67% of South African organizations highlighted that machine learning as the most useful AI technology to them, followed by smart robotics and biometrics.
Lillian Barnard, MD of Microsoft South Africa said: “Many AI experts argue it’s not simply a lack of technical skills that slow the progress of AI, but also a greater need for a culture of experimentation. Though AI is in its early stages of development in SA, it bodes well for AI maturity in the country that businesses are actively experimenting with exciting new AI use cases.”
Over the past decade, South Africa’s investment in AI is quite significant, which is around $1.6 billion. The United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and South Africa were three countries in the region with the highest investment in AI in the last 10 years, according to the report.