Artificial intelligence (AI) adoption is set to accelerate in Australia as new research from global leader in financial services technology, FIS suggests businesses plan to invest heavily in AI and generative AI in the next year.

The second edition of FIS’ Global Innovation Report asked C-suite and senior executives in financial services (banks, insurers, capital markets firms, and fintechs) and non-financial businesses (retail, restaurants, travel, gaming and digital content, and technology providers) globally about their key areas of financial investment over the next 12 months.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of business leaders in Australia cited financial risk as their top concern currently, signaling broad concerns about the near-term market. Technology and system innovation has been found to be a top focus for risk mitigation for the year ahead. Meanwhile, firms are betting big on AI with 46% and 50% saying they are already using AI and generative AI (respectively).

Close to three-quarters (71%) of firms that have adopted Generative AI plan to increase spend in the next year—tied with as-a-service for the highest rate of investment across the technologies covered in the research. Australian leaders also have strong appetite for cloud computing, expected to have the highest adoption (87%) within the next 12 months, followed by Generative AI (86%) and AI (86%).

“While ChatGPT has recently been making headlines, AI and machine learning tools have long been playing a significant role in digital transformation within the financial sector by making far better use of data, and enabling faster, more reliable and consistent decision making,” FIS vice president of capital markets for APAC, Nick Aronson said.

“With Australians being early adopters of technology, it is not surprising to see that almost half of all Australian firms surveyed are already using AI in some form and a majority plan to up their investments. Generative AI is rapidly changing the game, and while it has the power to revolutionize business, it’s also understandably unsettling many industries.

“Regulation in the space is set to follow amid growing use, and human judgement will still have a major role to play alongside AI tools. To harness the potential of AI as a force for good, businesses must find ways for AI to work in harmony with their human workforce.”