The state of AI in 2021

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The results of our latest McKinsey Global Survey on AI indicate that AI adoption continues to grow and that the benefits remain significant— though in the COVID-19 pandemic’s first year, they were felt more strongly on the cost-savings front than the top line. As AI’s use in business becomes more common, the tools and best practices to make the most out of AI have also become more sophisticated. We looked at the practices of the companies seeing the biggest earnings boost from AI and found that they are not only following more of both the core and advanced practices, including machine-learning operations (MLOps), that underpin success but also spending more efficiently on AI and taking more advantage of cloud technologies. Additionally, they are more likely than other organizations to engage in a range of activities to mitigate their AI-related risks—an area that continues to be a shortcoming for many companies’ AI efforts.