Businesses are aware of the benefits that artificial intelligence (AI) can provide, but many are being put off of the technology by its potential risks and a lack of knowledge to address them should problems arise.

A new report released by Deloitte, How countries are pursuing an AI advantage, has found that 43% of business leaders have major or extreme concerns about AI risks.

AI concerns vary by country

Concerns are particularly prevalent in France and Australia, with close to 50% of respondents expressing serious concerns.

However, businesses in the United Kingdom feel that they are less prepared to deal with any problems that might arise. Just 24% of UK-based businesses believe they are fully prepared to address potential AI risks.

Concern are also high in the United States at just over 45%. However, 44% of businesses feel that they are adequately prepared to deal with any issues.

While the western world continues to fret over AI risks, sentiment is very different in China. Less than one in five Chinese businesses fear AI risks, with more than 40% stating that they are prepared to address potential AI risks.

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By GlobalData

According to Paul Sallomi, Vice Chairman of US Technology Sector for Deloitte, the significant differences between countries are a result of the different paths that countries are taking in their AI strategies:

“Paths to successful AI implementation and use differ greatly, and countries are at varying stages of the process. By examining countries’ challenges and how they are addressing them, we can glean some essential best practices.”

The concerns holding business AI implementation back

Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest concerns reported by businesses globally is that they don’t possess the talent to successfully implement AI and respond to challenges that may arise. In the United States, 68% of respondents reported a moderate to extreme talent gap. Similarly, those in Australia and France stated that they have a “major or extreme” skills gap.

In Australia, this lack of expert knowledge means that many businesses are lacking a clear AI strategy. Some 41% feel that their company lacks a company-wide strategy, with many reporting different approaches across divisions.

Similar issues could be fuelling concerns in the UK too. While the UK continues to invest heavily in AI research, development and implementation, businesses are struggling to see the value of AI. Some 45% admit that struggling to measure AI value is among their top three concerns.

There were also concerns raised across the board about how to successfully integrate AI into current roles and functions within the business.

Canadian businesses appear particularly fearful of AI implementation. Some 48% of early adopters admit that they are worried about making wrong choices based on AI. These fears are holding Canada back, with just 25% of businesses currently implementing AI into their products and services.

Germany holds similar fears, with AI’s potential to cause widespread job loss ranked among their top fears. However, rather than shy away from AI, Germany has taken a different approach by investing heavily to train its workforce for the AI future.

Some 63% of German employees are now receiving training to use AI in their jobs, compared to 55% on average elsewhere in the world. Given Germany is one of just two countries where preparedness is higher than concern, the strategy appears to be paying off.

Read more: Entering the Matrix: The state of play of AI