Hong Kong firms ‘cautious’ to deploy AI amid challenges in data acquisition, survey says

Hong Kong enterprises remain “cautious” about building and deploying artificial intelligence (AI) applications, owing to the challenges of acquiring high-quality data and uncertainties in the technology’s return on investment, according to a survey.
Conducted by Paris-based digital consultancy fifty-five during the Google Cloud Summit in Hong Kong last month, the survey showed that many local firms have not yet initiated any AI-driven projects. There were 138 survey respondents at the conference.

That reluctance stems from “uncertainties around initial investment and expected returns”, as the development of AI applications require certain sophisticated technologies, according to the consultancy.

About 36 survey respondents said they have adopted AI in chatbots and customer services, while 35 respondents said they use the technology for select internal applications such as performance insights and alerts.

Artificial intelligence in Hong Kong enterprises has been adopted in chatbots and customer services. Photo: Shutterstock

The survey also showed that nearly 40 per cent of respondents have not established comprehensive systems for data collection and reconciliation, which are foundational elements for training AI systems. About 29 per cent of respondents said they are still in the early stage of building such systems.

“The effectiveness of AI depends not only on the AI tool but more importantly on the data ingested into the model,” said Ivan Yuen, expertise and innovation manager at fifty-five.

The survey showed that overcoming challenges related to data quality and availability is “essential for the successful adoption of AI” by Hong Kong companies, Yuen said. He added that poor data quality and availability may result in misleading insights and bias generated by AI.

The findings show that Hong Kong enterprises have plenty of catching up to do in terms of AI adoption, compared with the aggressive deployment being seen on the mainland.

Hong Kong enterprises have a lot of catching up to do in terms of adopting artificial intelligence to transform the local economy. Photo: Shutterstock
Meanwhile, ChatGPT creator OpenAI has tightened measures to block attempts from “unsupported countries and territories”, including mainland China and Hong Kong, to access its generative AI services. This is expected to further complicate efforts by Hong Kong developers to build AI applications.

The fifty-five survey also pointed out that the lack of proper resources and skills are a major concern for expanding AI adoption in the city.

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