An executive at Google believes businesses’ use of artificial intelligence is only scratching the surface, even as the technology starts to seep through everyday life.

Sam Sebastian, vice-president and Canada country manager at Google Cloud, compared today’s use of AI to the early days of the internet and how it changed how businesses operate.

“This is a significant technological shift that will change the future of how industries will work, how businesses work,” he told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview Thursday. “We’re just getting started. It’s extremely exciting.”

Some research suggests adoption of the technology has been slow. A recent Toronto Metropolitan University study said just four per cent of Canadian companies are using AI. 

But Sebastian said companies are already using AI to speed up their processes and improve their end products.

“When you look at the opportunities to make products better, engage with users in a better way, but also increase the bottom line (and) improve profitability and efficiency, this is a technological shift that we haven’t seen in an extremely long time,” he said.

Sebastian added that many executives were skeptical of AI early on, but more are now willing to embrace the technology rather than risk falling behind.

“We’re seeing engagement like we’ve never seen before from boards, from C-suites with this technology to figure out how we can potentially disrupt or transform their business, but do it from the inside, rather than someone disrupt from the outside,” he said.