Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of strategic importance and a key driver of economic development. It can provide solutions to many challenges, such as treating diseases or minimising the environmental impact of farming. Artificial intelligence gives machines and systems the capability to analyse their environment and make decisions with some degree of autonomy to achieve specific goals.
In 2020, 7 % of enterprises in the EU with at least 10 people employed used AI applications. While 2% of the enterprises used machine learning to analyse big data internally, 1 % analysed big data internally with the help of natural language processing, natural language generation or speech recognition. A chat service, where a chatbot or virtual agent generated natural language replies to customers, was used in 2% of the enterprises. The same proportion of enterprises, 2 %, used service robots, which are characterised with some degree of autonomy, for example to carry out cleaning, dangerous or repetitive tasks such as cleaning up poisonous substances, sorting items in the warehouse, helping customers in shopping or at payment points etc.
Among the EU Member States, Ireland recorded the highest share of enterprises (23%) that used any of the four considered AI applications in 2020. Other countries with widespread uptake of AI technologies were Malta (19 %), Finland (12 %) and Denmark (11 %).
In contrast, less than 10 % of enterprises used any of the four AI applications in 2020 in all other Member States. The lowest shares were recorded in Latvia (2 %), Slovenia, Hungary, Cyprus (3 % each) and Poland (4 %).
For more information:
- Data come from the Community survey on ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises and refer to all enterprises with at least 10 people employed (excl. financial sector). Further methodological information related to the survey can be found here. In the framework of this analysis, the proportion of enterprises using AI is calculated as the difference between 100 and the proportion of enterprises that do not use AI.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to systems that show intelligent behaviour: by analysing their environment they can perform various tasks with some degree of autonomy to achieve specific goals. See: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/factsheet-artificial-intelligence-europe and https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/communication-artificial-intelligence-europe.
- In the framework of this analysis, the use of AI applications considers only four systems: chat service where a chatbot or a virtual agent replies to customers, use of machine learning (e.g. deep learning) for analysing big data internally, use of natural language processing, natural language generation or speech recognition for analysing big data internally, use of service robots (e.g. for surveillance, cleaning, transportation, etc.). Other AI systems are outside the scope of the survey and not included in this analysis.
- Big data analysis refers to the use of technologies, techniques or software tools such as data or text mining, machine learning, etc., for analysing big data extracted from enterprise’s own data sources or other data sources. Big data have the following characteristics: volume – vast amount of data, variety – different formats of complex data and velocity – data is frequently generated.
- Machine learning (e.g. deep learning) involves ‘training’ a computer model to better perform an automated task, e.g. pattern recognition.
- Natural language processing, natural language generation or speech recognition are the ability for a computer program to understand human language as it is spoken, to convert data into natural language representation or to identify words and phrases in spoken language and convert them to a machine-readable format.
- A chatbot or virtual agent is a computer generated, animated, artificial intelligence virtual character that serves as an online customer service representative.
- A service robot is a machine that has a degree of autonomy that enables it to operate in complex and dynamic environment that may require interaction with persons, objects or other devices, excluding its use in industrial automation applications. They are designed to fit their tasks, working in the air (e.g. as a drone), under water, or on land, using wheels or legs to achieve mobility with arms and end effectors to physically interact and are often used in inspection and maintenance tasks.