1 in 4 Flemish companies is using artificial intelligence: “frontrunners in Europe”

Nearly a quarter of Flemish companies use artificial intelligence (AI). This makes Flanders one of the frontrunners in Europe, says Flemish minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits based on a recent study.

The baseline measurement was commissioned by the Flemish government – in Belgium, regional governments are in charge of economic policy. Despite the promising numbers, however, the minister warns that there is still work to be done. More than three quarters (76.8%) of Flemish companies do not use artificial intelligence and the majority (63.4%) are not planning to do so either, shows the study. “Artificial intelligence remains a niche technology and mainly a matter for large companies, whereas the study shows that it is precisely smaller companies who experience the greatest positive impact of AI on their turnover", says Crevits.

The biggest barrier for companies towards adopting AI is a lack of knowledge, says the minister in charge of Economy and Innovation: “The benefits of AI are unknown and unloved. In the coming years, we will therefore continue our efforts through the Flemish AI action plan: Flanders invests 32 million euros annually in research, raising awareness and training, advising and supporting companies.” In addition, companies can request financial support from the Flemish Region’s innovation agency VLAIO. Last year, 400 companies received such support for their AI project.

“The benefits of AI are unknown and unloved. In the coming years, we will therefore continue our efforts through the Flemish AI action plan"

Despite small businesses having the most to gain from the use of artificial intelligence, they barely seem to make use of the technology. AI appears to be deployed mainly by medium-sized and large companies, with process automation, text analysis and machine learning representing the top 3 of most used AI technologies. A quarter of those who use AI, do so in function of marketing or sales. One such example is predicting customer behaviour based on data.


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