Artificial Intelligence is a trending topic globally, with many industries adopting and creating new applications of the technology. LATAM is no exception to this trend, and while AI is blossoming in LATAM, there are still some challenges to consider.
Welcome to our first article in a series dedicated to artificial intelligence in LATAM. This series is intended to explore perceptions and usage of AI in the region across different industries, better understand opportunities and limitations of the technology, and show examples of how AI has been implemented to date. To start this series off, we sat down with Diana Pareja to discuss AI’s evolution and its current status in LATAM. Diana Pareja is a market research professional and former professor at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. Diana has been studying the implementation of AI in Latam for the past several years.
The evolution of AI in LATAM.
According to Diana, AI is not something new or recently discovered.
Numerous industries have successfully incorporated AI into their automation processes, with information technology (IT) being a prime example. The implementation of automated systems has greatly increased efficiency and productivity, resulting in streamlined operations and cost savings.
AI has, however, experienced significant advancement over the past decade as a result of the development of new technologies. In more recent years, AI has been part of a marketing boom because of the launch of easily accessible tools, like ChatGPT.
Diana: “With the recent launch of ChatGPT, AI has had a lot of marketing and has been made more accessible to everyone. Nowadays, AI is taking more relevance in all conversations, at all levels and is adding a lot of value in many companies and industries.
Many companies in LATAM have used AI for years without even realizing it because their big technology providers, such as Facebook, SAP, Monday.com, and others, these tools we all have heard of, were already using it as part of their processes.”
Statistics regarding the growing interest in AI within Latin America.
Data indicate that ChatGPT has been positively adopted in LATAM. According to Statista (2023), Brazil leads the ranking of Latin American and Caribbean countries with the highest number of visits to ChatGPT, with more than 70 million visits registered between January 2023 and March 2023 alone. It is closely followed by Colombia and Mexico, with figures close to 60 million visits. On a global scale, these figures place the three countries among the top 20 users of this platform, accounting for 2.2%, 1.9%, and 1.7% of its global traffic, respectively.
Adoption of AI in different industries
According to Forbes (2023) and their article about AI-generated content in Latin America, AI adoption is well on its way in the region. A recent survey by IDC estimates that AI adoption averages 45% across the region, with Brazil leading with 63% of companies using the technology.
Companies in LATAM are investing in AI development and finding strategic partners to help them embrace technological changes.
Diana: “Working with AI is helping companies be more efficient, increase the quality of the process, and save money in the long term. Additionally, many companies want to be pioneers when it comes to technology, so this encourages them to embrace AI.
Specifically in LATAM, Brazil is one of the leading countries in terms of AI application, development, and regulations as a natural result of the multiple tech companies that have established their headquarters in this country.”
When it comes to specific industries adopting AI, Diana spoke about banking, education, and marketing and advertising.
Diana: “Banking is among the leaders in AI usage in the region. AI is valuable for security measures, like identifying fraud and fake profiles. And many companies in the region have developed specialized security software to sell around the world.”
Today, many financial institutions in LATAM sell their products and services through digital channels, and with the help of AI, they can now implement targeted strategies to assist customers based on their identified financial needs and behaviors.
Education has also begun adapting to AI as a sector.
Diana: “The education sector has evolved to face the challenges of the AI revolution, and [AI] is currently being implemented in many areas within universities and other higher education institutions. This was expected considering that education must adapt to the global challenges.”
Many universities are currently promoting the inclusion of AI in classrooms as part of their academic program. Professors are not only teaching about AI, but also using it to support their students’ learning process. Universities themselves are also taking advantage of AI to make their administrative processes more efficient.
Diana: “Several universities are even establishing partnerships with tech companies to help develop and promote AI usage.”
When it comes to marketing and advertising, AI is utilized to create targeted strategies based on multiple criteria, design better ads, and analyze the effectiveness of the investment in different media to improve budget spend (Neria, 2023).
AI in the market research industry:
Diana: “AI is fed by data, and the market research industry is a data industry, which means that we can consider ourselves a part of those who should be taking advantage of AI and implementing it in as many of our processes as we can.
I have done some tests using AI tools to make the questionnaires adapt to the questions asked in the in-depth interviews, according to the answers given by the participants, and to have a level of conversation very similar to what a pollster or a moderator of in-depth interviews could have.
The truth is that the results are impressive. Sometimes I would say that it almost does better than a person. So, we have some very interesting potential efficiencies.”
However, data bias is one of the biggest risks of using AI in MR. Many people expect that using AI to analyze data or information would eliminate researcher bias, but it could have the opposite effect as the analysis may be impacted by the AI engine utilized and its own information sources, the AI learning model, and general internet conversations around the topic (Dakduk & Acevedo, 2023).
We still need a human researcher perspective to validate that the output makes sense considering the market context, and that the results are not detrimentally impacted by unverified sources.
Barriers to accelerating the adoption of AI in LATAM
Diana: “We need trained minds to use AI in all industries, and we have excellent universities that can start thinking about using AI in many areas inside different companies. However, after the pandemic, inflation is affecting various markets, and many companies are restricting their budget to invest in training in new technologies. I hope that will start changing in the next year.”
Large multinational companies can play a significant role in accelerating the adoption of AI in the region.
Diana: “In LATAM, many small and medium size companies provide support services to big companies. I think they should partner up and work toward exploring the usage of the technology together.”
Furthermore, there seems to be an internal perception that LATAM is behind other regions in the world when it comes to technology.
Diana: “We need to change that way of thinking and show that we are capable of developing best-in-class technology.”
The current environment presents an excellent opportunity to show the world our great capabilities.
Given the current and potential usage of AI in LATAM, having an ethical approach and using the technology responsibly and positively is imperative, and we all must promote its proper usage across different scenarios.
Diana invites everyone in Latin America to seize this pivotal moment, embrace positivity, take pride of our achievements, and recognize the positive impact of AI in the region and worldwide.
About Diana Pareja:
Diana is a market researcher with over 17 years of experience. She holds professional degrees in Anthropology and Business Administration from Universidad de los Andes and a master’s degree from Toulouse Business School. She has worked at Quala, Ipsos, and Nielsen, and founded DEEP Market Research twelve years ago. Currently, she runs the company and has been a professor at Los Andes University since 2013.