RELX Group: AI & ML Lag in Adoption

December 3, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are essential for public and private organizations to stay competitive in the age of digital transformation. However, adoption is lagging even among key decision-makers championing change. These findings and more stem from a new survey, the RELX Emerging Tech Executive Report, which polled 1,000 US senior executives across six industries: government, healthcare, insurance, legal, science/medical and banking. RELX Group is a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries.

According to the survey, 88% of senior executives agree AI and machine learning will help their businesses be more competitive. The value of the technologies is clear to surveyed executives, but only 56 percent of organizations use machine learning or AI. Furthermore, only 18% of those surveyed plan to increase investment in these technologies.

“Organizations who can successfully use emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning to provide their customers with better products and advanced analytics can emerge as the leaders of the future,” said Kumsal Bayazit, Chair of RELX Group’s Technology Forum. “While awareness of these technologies and their benefits is higher than ever before, endorsement from key decision makers has not been enough to spark matching levels of adoption. Acknowledging that the world is changing needs to be coupled with significant investment and focus on these emerging technologies to stay competitive in today’s business landscape.”

Additional key findings from the RELX Emerging Tech Executive Report include:

AI and machine learning are making their mark as 69% of those polled believe emerging technologies have had a positive impact on their industry Machine learning and artificial intelligence are helping solve challenges by automating decision processes (40%), improving customer retention (36%) and detecting fraud, waste and abuse (33%) Only two-fifths (39%) of respondents believe their organizations are getting the most value out of AI and machine learning Less than half (40%) of senior executives surveyed believe the US is the world leader in AI development

Progressing from executive awareness to understanding is pivotal for the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

RELX Group’s survey shows that 94% of industry leaders are aware of artificial intelligence and 91% are aware of machine learning. However, of those respondents, 18% could not answer how or why these technologies were being implemented in their organizations. One explanation for the lack of AI and machine learning adoption is a disconnect at the decision-making level. Senior leadership must be able to understand the practical use of, and objectives for, advanced technology in order to articulate the message to their employees and drive top-down buy-in and implementation.

Emerging technologies are being used to empower employees to work better and smarter, not to replace labor.

The three most popular uses for AI and machine learning are to increase efficiencies or worker productivity (51%), to inform future business decisions (41%) and to streamline processes (39%).


With Ipsos, RELX Group surveyed 1,000 adults in the United States between the ages of 30 – 74. To qualify, respondents had to be employed full-time, have a household income of at least $50,000, work at a company with more than 50 employees, and currently be a senior executive or senior decision maker/leader at their company. Respondents were from one of the following industries: government, healthcare, banking, legal, insurance, science/medical. The poll was conducted in September 2018.

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