MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group Study Dispels Five Major Myths About Artificial Intelligence

Myth #1: The greatest promise of enterprise artificial intelligence is the ability to take mundane knowledge work and automate it, yielding unprecedented operational cost savings.
Fact: 72% of Pioneers say AI will deliver mainly revenue increases in the next five years, while only 28% of Pioneers expect mainly cost savings.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new global study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) dispels some key myths around AI. For example, while easily documented cost savings are a classic way of garnering support for further investment, the finding here is that all but the most passive organizations anticipate AI will pay off most on the revenue-generating side.

The MIT SMR and BCG study, titled “Artificial Intelligence in Business Gets Real,” is based on findings from the second annual global survey of more than 3,000 business executives, managers, and analysts from organizations around the world. The survey, conducted in spring 2018, captured insights from individuals working in organizations of various sizes, spread across 29 industries and located in 126 countries, and supplemented by 35 executive interviews. The study splits the organizations surveyed into four groups: (1) Pioneers are enterprises that have extensive understanding of AI tools and concepts and significant levels of AI adoption. (2) Investigators understand AI but have limited adoption. (3) Experimenters have adopted AI but with limited understanding of it. (4) Passives have limited adoption and understanding of AI.

The other myths the study contradicted include the following:

  • Myth: The benefits of AI are perpetually just out of reach.
    Reality: AI is currently providing real value in real organizations, not just lab demonstrations in technology organizations. 
  • Myth: Widely available sophisticated AI tools will level the playing field.
    Reality: Fully 88% of Pioneers invested more in AI than in the previous year, compared with 62% of other groups. Pioneers are widening the gap with others.
  • Myth: Companies that see success with AI flourish via small-scale experiments, letting a thousand flowers bloom.
    Reality: AI leaders are creating strategies for taking AI to industrial scale. Fully 85% of pioneers agree they have an urgent need for an AI strategy, and 90% say they have a strategy in place already.

  • Myth: Senior managers view AI as a tool that will help them achieve workforce reductions.
    A total of 47% of responders say they expect workforce reductions due to AI, but only 38% of the CEOs surveyed have that expectation.

”The companies that see the potential and opportunities with artificial intelligence are deepening their commitment,” said David Kiron, executive editor of MIT SMR and coauthor. “They’re following a thoughtful strategy, and they’re growing their teams to consolidate their leadership in this area.”

Added coauthor Philipp Gerbert, senior partner and leader of AI in Business for BCG, “Pioneers move beyond individual AI use-cases toward AI at scale. To reap the benefits of AI, they have started to transform their businesses.”

Visit MIT SMR to download and read the full report, or visit the MIT SMR-BCG initiative on AI.

About MIT Sloan Management Review
A media company based at the MIT Sloan School of ManagementMIT Sloan Management Review’s mission is to lead the conversation among research scholars, business executives, and other thought leaders about advances in management practice, particularly those shaped by technology, that are transforming how people lead and innovate. MIT Sloan Management Review captures for thoughtful managers the creativity, excitement, and opportunity generated by rapid organizational, technological, and societal change.

About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries. For more information, please visit

Nidhi Sinha
The Boston Consulting Group


Deb Gallagher
MIT Sloan Management Review