As CIOs from the world’s biggest law firms heatedly debated the legitimacy of artificial intelligence for delivering legal solutions at the 2019 #GlenLegal19 Legal Leaders IT Forum this week, a new report confirmed that four out of ten European AI start-ups demonstrate little evidence of actually using AI in their products and services.

The State of AI report, produced by UK investment firm MMC Ventures, in association with Barclays, analysed 2,830 AI start-ups across the region and based itsfindings on public information and interviews with executives.

The study also found that corporate adoption of AI has tripled in the last 12 months and is now being operated in one in seven large companies. Over the next two years, two thirds of large companies expect to have AI initiatives running.

The increase in adoption is reflected in the proliferation of AI start-ups. One in every 12 newly founded tech companies claims to be an AI company, compared to just one in 50 in 2013.

The UK is leading the way, with nearly 500 AI start-ups, a third of Europe’s total and twice as many as any other country.

But as the legal sector knows only too well, there is still a great deal of hype surrounding this emerging technology and many remain sceptical about genuine use cases.

“AI has grown rapidly over the past few years and already we’ve seen the impact on our everyday lives, from facial recognition to the recommendations we’re served up,” said Steven Roberts, managing director of Barclays UK Ventures.

“Asthe technology becomes more prevalent and complex, however, it’s important to remember any AI proposition must meet two criteria: to solve a real-life problem for people, businesses and society, and to do so in a responsible and inclusive way.

By Amy Carroll