UPDATED 19:47 EDT / MARCH 05 2019


40% of AI companies in Europe aren’t doing AI at all

Buzzwords in the tech scene are often laid on so thick it’s sometimes difficult to ascertain what a company does, and one of the most common buzzwords today is artificial intelligence.

Mostly the application of a buzzword has some representation of truth, but as it turns out many companies claimed to be using AI are not doing anything of the sort.

A survey released this week by London-based venture capital firm MMC Ventures of 2,830 European companies considered by analytics websites such as Pitchbook and Crunchbase found that two in five companies were not working on or using AI in any fundamental way.

“We looked at every company, their materials, their product, the website and product documents,” David Kelnar, head of research for MMC, told Forbes. “In 40 percent of cases we could find no mention of evidence of AI.”

Kelnar added that “companies that people assume and think are AI companies are probably not.” This particularly refers to the report noting that some of the companies surveyed did not self-identify as being in AI but had been categorized as being AI companies by third-party websites.

The report does make clear that companies that have been mislabeled as AI-related often don’t attempt to correct the record, however. In some cases, companies had apparently allowed themselves to be classified as AI to attract investments, the argument being that AI companies attract more interest than non-AI companies.

“AI companies’ capital requirements can justify greater investment, given the longer cycles required to achieve develop a minimum viable product, the high cost of AI talent, and the larger teams required for complex deployments,” the report noted.

Although not every company labeled AI was intentionally trying to deceive, in one case a company that claimed it was gathering “data and knowledge to enable the implementation of AI” wasn’t doing anything in AI at all.

Of the 60 percent of companies in AI that were found to be using AI technology, the reports notes that some of the claimed uses are a stretch a best, for example the use of chatbots.

Some 26 percent of companies cited chatbots as an example of them employing AI while 21 percent noted fraud detection.

Image: geralt/Pixabay

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