Robot 'Pepper' communicates with journalists and guests in the exhibition 'Out of Office': When robots and AI work for us' at a press conference in the Museum der Arbeit.

Microsoft and IDC surveyed business leaders and workers in 15 Asia Pacific countries for the “Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia’s Growth Potential Through AI” report.

Innovation, competitiveness, customer engagement, higher margins and employee productivity were some of the reasons given by companies for adopting AI.

“Asia Pacific is not ready yet for AI,” Victor Lim, vice president for consulting operations at IDC Asia Pacific, said in a statement. He added that businesses have to continuously invest in the technology, sometimes without immediate returns.

“There is an urgent need for talents and tools to develop, deploy and monitor AI models, along with the availability of a robust data infrastructure with the adequate governance,” Lim said.

For its part, China has embarked on an aggressive push to dominate the AI space through both public and private investments into the technology. Beijing aims to be the leader in AI innovation by 2030.

“I think there’s a lot of engineering capacity and skills in China,” Haupter said, adding that some of Microsoft’s major AI breakthroughs on cognitive services, object and speech recognition came from the company’s research and development team in the country.

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