Latin American CEOs optimistic about AI's potential

But translating that positive attitude into projects is a different story, says report.

CEOs in Latin America are upbeat about the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence (AI) but many are holding off on investing in such projects, according to a new study.

According to PwC's 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, the belief that AI will have a greater impact than the Internet is shared by 65 percent of the region's leaders - one of the highest rates in the world ahead of the average in Europe and North America.

Business leaders in North America tend to be more skeptical about AI, with 35 percent of CEOs 'disagreeing' or 'strongly disagreeing' that AI will have a larger impact than the internet revolution.

Latin CEOs are more bullish about the potential of AI, however, 28 percent of the executives polled in the region do not plan to implement AI initiatives at this time and 34 percent will introduce AI at some point in the next three years.

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According to the report, CEOs are contending with gaps in their organizations' capabilities, with many struggling to extract value out of their data and to find skills.

Emerging digital technologies such as AI are highlighted as a key route to unlocking this potential - PwC estimates $15.7 trillion in global GDP gains from that specific technology by 2030. However, the report highlights there is more nuance in the AI discussion this year.

"Concerns are rising about technology and leaders are learning how to leverage advanced technologies in responsible and sustainable ways, with an ever more critical eye on matters such as cybersecurity and privacy, data ownership and integrity," the report says.

"Technology itself is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. But the advances of the digital age are powerful in unprecedented ways and, if properly harnessed, may hold the keys to addressing systemic challenges for the benefit of the broader community," it adds.

"It's easy to advocate the design of technology for positive and sustainable outcomes. Developing the specifics, across the boundaries of our various institutions, will be much more difficult — but necessary."