DURHAM – Even though over half of enterprises in a new research study expect machine learning to influence the majority of business operations in the next two years, most are not doing enough to prepare for the future they see looming, a new report says.

The report, “How to Avoid Your Looming Machine Learning Crisis,” from Cambridge, MA-based HFS Research and Durham’s Infinia ML, found that 86 percent of data science decision makers across the Global 2000 believe machine learning (ML) is impacting their respective industries today.

Just over half (52 percent) believe it will be a core technology within two years.

Yet, most enterprises have not made significant investments in ML. A mere 8 percent have centralized ML functions and 42 percent recognize they have significant skill deficiencies.

InfiniaML image

Robbie Allen

“You would think that if enterprises find ML that valuable they would be investing,” noted Robbie Allen, CEO of Infinia ML, who previously founded and sold Automated Insights, the robot writer that worried more than a few journalists with its automated sports and financial reporting stories.

“I think it’s a natural progression,” Allen said in an interview with WRAL Techwire. “Even as the interest level grows, it takes a while for the money to catch up.” Another limiting factor is the lack of skills in the field, which may actually be a good thing for Infinia ML, which helps companies identify and deploy the technology for business impact.

James Kotecki, director of marketing and communications at Infinia ML, notes that the company’s chief scientist, Lawrence Carin, Ph.D, was the most published ML researcher at a recent ML conference. The Infinia ML team has produced 31 patents, 11 books, and more than 575 published papers.

One finding in the report stands out, Allen said: “According to the report, ML is not over-hyped.”

While Allen agrees there is a lot of hype about the technology, “In this case, I still really believe in the opportunity and potential for ML I often say the big data era has to proceed to the ML era. A lot of companies invested in the big data that would allow them to take advantage of ML”

Allen said Infinia ML is working with both national and local firms, including several large Triangle-based companies.

Key Findings from the report include:

  • ML is not overhyped: 71 percent of enterprise decision makers no longer believe ML is over-hyped and 86 percent say it is already impacting business in their industries.
  • ML’s impact will be rapid across the enterprise, happening within two to five years.
  • ML impacts both the top and bottom line: Those surveyed said they expect ML to reduce operating costs and revenue growth.
  • Most enterprises are not investing enough in ML to achieve their ambitions: ML as a capability is just beginning to take shape and most enterprises are running only a few projects and have invested less than $1 million in ML