More than 32% of U.S. workers are already exposed to some form of artificial intelligence (AI) in their jobs, with an additional 6% of workers using AI tools for the first time in 2019, according to a study produced by Optimized Workforce, Chicago.

The study surveyed more than 10,000 U.S. workers to understand the time they spend on specific tasks, the technologies they work with and the technologies they will deploy next year to help with those tasks. The survey sampled workers from 19 of the 20 Census Bureau NAICS codes and all of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' top-level occupational codes.

The findings, released in the report, "AI Opportunity Report 2018: Which Industries Are Investing in AI? Which Ones Should Be?," reveal that AI-enabled document classification and document creation technologies lead all AI penetration and will continue to see strong investment in 2019. However, the level of investment in other AI technologies varies widely by industry. For instance, the construction industry is the most aggressive investor in AI and will continue to be next year, but some industries are not investing enough, based on the task-by-task efficiencies AI can provide.

Likewise, survey results imply that AI tools with more strategic applications, like scenario planning, will gain steam in 2019.

The estimated dollar value of efficiencies AI can provide the U.S. economy in 2018 approaches $900 billion, but AI technology vendors will only see a fraction of that, in part due to challenges proving the return on investment the technologies provide.

Furthermore, more than 13% of workers surveyed said they spend so much time on tasks that could be made more efficient with AI that they are missing key business goals and deliverables.

"AI is not the future of work, it's the present," says Craig Desens, adviser. "Before we conducted this large-scale survey of U.S. workers, we were predicting AI adoption through macroeconomic indicators. Now we have a more detailed view of the current state."