Canadian businesses lagging US in adoption of ChatGPT

08 May 2023 3 min. read

Canadian businesses are lagging behind their American counterparts in experimenting with OpenAI’s popular generative artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, according to a recent KPMG survey. The consulting firm polled 90 Canadian and 160 American enterprises in February 2023.

KPMG’s survey found 37% of Canadian companies are experimenting with how ChatGPT can improve their operations, compared to 65% of US Companies.

Overall adoption of AI among Canadian companies is less than half that of US firms, at 35% compared to 72%. Of the Canadian companies using AI, over 40% are using them in call centres.

Though the generative AI of ChatGPT has boomed in popularity among the general public due to its impressive ability to quickly produce text and images, wider enterprise applications of AI span many areas – including in manufacturing automation, supply chain software optimization, and autonomous transport.

The integration of AI into business models has the opportunity to significantly boost productivity – a continuing issue faced by Canadian enterprises.

AI adoption in Canada lags the US

Canada’s workforce is less productive than the US, Eurozone average, the UK, and Australia, and the OECD expects Canada to have the worst GDP growth out of 38 advanced countries in the next 40 years. The country’s poor outlook for GDP growth is heavily influenced by an inability to boost labor productivity.

Canadian workers are less productive than most of the developed world because, on average, Canadian companies use less capital and technology, are less innovative, and operate at a smaller scale.

"Generative AI can be powerful if used correctly and responsibly, and it enables businesses to be more efficient, productive and competitive. Canadian businesses that aren't adopting AI today might be putting themselves at risk of falling behind, especially as competitors south of the border continue to advance in this field," said Benjie Thomas, managing partner for advisory services at KPMG Canada.

The Challenges with AI adoption

Companies say the top barriers to using AI effectively are a lack of skilled talent and quality data to train algorithms. Forty-seven percent of Canadian businesses said they don’t have the in-house expertise to validate the accuracy of algorithms, and 44% don’t have properly sized or formatted data sets.

“Large organizations are sitting on vast amounts of data, but to make that data work effectively for them, they need to properly assess the quality of their data first. Without that, their journey towards being AI-ready will be rocky, so the first step for any organization thinking about adopting AI is 'get your data ready,'" said Zoe Willis, partner and national data and digital lead, KPMG Canada.

Most Canadian firms understand the risks of feeding poor quality data to AI, with 54% very concerned they may be basing decisions on poorly designed AI algorithms. Only 44% say they have regularly retained third-experts to assess their algorithms for error or bias.

Aside from quality data, companies also need to institute strong AI operating models with robust policies and tools to manage enterprise risk. The survey found just 43% of Canadian firms have implemented responsible AI frameworks compared to 72% of US firms.