Artificial intelligence, market boom in Italy: the numbers

Booming growth for the marketArtificial intelligence in Italy which scores in 2023 +52%reaching a value of 760 million euros, after it had already recorded a in 2022 +32% rcompared to the previous year.

AI in Italy: market boom in Italy

The majority of investments concern text analysis and interpretation solutions for semantic research, classification, synthesis and explanation of documents or traditional conversational agents, while Generative AI projects are still limited to 5% (38 million euros). Six out of ten large Italian companies have already started some kind of Artificial Intelligence project, at least at an experimental level, but two out of three have already discussed Generative AI applications internally and among these one in four has started an experiment (17% of the total).

These are some of the findings from the research of the Artificial Intelligence Observatory of the School of Management of the Polytechnic of Milan, presented in recent hours at the conference “AI at the centre: news, applications and rules”.

The numbers

In 2023 almost all Italians (98%) have heard of Artificial Intelligence, and more than one Italian in four (29%) has a medium-high knowledge of it. There is great interest, therefore, but also a certain confusion: three out of four Italians have heard of ChatGPT but only 57% know the term “Generative Artificial Intelligence”. One Italian in four also claims to have interacted with ChatGPT at least once. As many as 77% of Italians (+4 percentage points compared to 2022) look at Artificial Intelligence with fear, especially in relation to the possible impacts on the world of work. However, only 17% are firmly against the entry of AI into professional activities.

Certainly, the impacts on the world of work will be very significant. Already today, in Italy, Artificial Intelligence has a potential for automating 50% of “equivalent jobs” (the equivalent in jobs of the sum of the time spent on individual activities that can be entrusted to machines), for example today achieved to a minimal extent, also considering that the role of AI is more of a support than a real replacement. But 10 years from now, the new capabilities of the machines could carry out the work of 3.8 million people in Italy.

“Strides”

“This year, Artificial Intelligence did it strides also in Italy – states Giovanni Miragliotta, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Observatory -. The market is growing rapidly, as are the projects, and now almost all Italians have heard of AI, but they look at this area with interest and some fear. In assessing the real impact on work, however, it is necessary to take into consideration the demographic forecasts which, due to the aging of the population, project a gap of 5.6 million equivalent jobs by 2033. In this perspective, the possible automation of 3.8 million equivalent jobs appears almost a necessity to rebalance an enormous problem that is being created, rather than a risk. However, only by paying attention to the new needs of workers, training and a fair redistribution of benefits, will society be able to derive value from the development of AI”.

“In 2023 the Italian Artificial Intelligence market will grow significantly, marking a +52%, reaching the value of 760 million euros, an acceleration compared to the +32% recorded in the previous year. The majority of investments concern text analysis and interpretation solutions for semantic research, classification, synthesis and explanation of documents or traditional conversational agents, while Generative AI projects only account for 5%, although there is however great interest – highlight Alessandro Piva, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Observatory –. Two out of three organizations have already discussed Generative AI applications internally and among these one in four has started an experiment (17% of the total). However, the advent of Generative AI does not appear to be a way to reduce the gap in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence among large organizations. Those who are behind in the process of adopting AI, in fact, are unable to benefit from the opportunities of Generative AI (in 77% of cases).”

“It is the scientific community’s duty to guide the path of adoption of AI and Generative AI, trying to avoid the phase of disillusionment that usually characterizes the process of adopting new technologies – he explains Nicola Gatti, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Observatory -. In this regard, there are three main critical issues affecting AI today: being able to guarantee that the results of AI systems are correct – typically we talk about robustness -, being able to guarantee that the decisions taken are explainable to people – typically we talk about explainability —, and certify that AI systems comply with European regulations and that potential risks are mitigated. As the Polytechnic of Milan, through the FAIR Extended Partnership, we are carrying out research in the Adaptive AI field precisely to respond to these challenges”.

The market

The 90% of the market of Artificial Intelligence in Italy it is due to large companies. The rest is divided equally between SMEs and Public Administration. The most significant share of the Italian Artificial Intelligence market (29%) is linked to solutions for analyzing and extracting information from data (Data Exploration & Prediction, Decision Support & Optimization Systems). 27% is for language interpretation projects, written or spoken (Text Analysis, Classification & Conversation Systems). 22% for algorithms that suggest content to customers in line with individual preferences (Recommendation Systems). 10% video and image analysis, 7% Process Orchestration Systems, 5% Generative AI. Looking at the average spending on Artificial Intelligence per company, Telco-Media and Insurance come first, followed by Energy, Resource & Utility and Banking and Finance.

Diffusion in companies

The 61% of large companies have assets, at least at the experimental level, an Artificial Intelligence project, while it drops to 18% among small and medium-sized enterprises (+3 percentage points compared to 2022). Adoption in companies is essentially stable compared to 2022. Companies that have already started at least one trial are continuing and accelerating. In lagging companies, however, cases in which the advent of Generative AI has already given rise to an experiment are rare. 37% of large companies that have no active projects intend to activate them in the next 12 months and inspirational/training workshop initiatives on the topic are multiplying. Approximately 2 out of 3 large companies have discussed Generative AI applications internally, among these one in four has started an experiment (17% of the total, therefore). On the other hand, only 7% of small and medium-sized enterprises are reflecting on potential applications and only 2% have actually activated at least one trial.

The maturity of companies

The Observatory analyzed the maturity of large organizations in the process of adoption of AI, arriving at identifying five different profiles. 11% are avant-garde (up 2 percentage points compared to last year), companies that have reached full maturity at a technological, organizational and management level in the adoption of artificial intelligence solutions. The 23% are apprentices, have several projects underway but hardly employ structured methodologies in managing them and tend to resort to standard or ready-to-use solutions. In the remaining 66% of cases, heterogeneous situations remain: there are organizations on the move (29%), equipped with the enabling elements but with few projects, and companies that do not perceive the topic as relevant and do not have an IT infrastructure adequate for management of large amounts of data.