Chatbots such as Microsoft's failed Tay are a low priority for tech spending among chief executives.

Two-thirds of chief executives will invest in cloud-based technologies over the next 12 months, but barely one in 10 will consider funding chatbot initiatives, a global survey has found.

The survey of 842 Young Presidents Organisation members brings welcome news for start-ups in the cloud computing space, with investments in software-as-a-service products planned over the next year by 68 per cent of the chief executive respondents.

The next most popular destinations for technology investment over the next 12 months are business intelligence (65 per cent), cyber security (47 per cent), digital/mobile payments (44 per cent) and internet of things (41 per cent).

The least popular destinations for technology investment are virtual/augmented reality (23 per cent of CEOs planning to invest in the next 12 months), blockchain and distributed ledgers (15 per cent), chatbots (13 per cent) and cryptocurrency (9 per cent).

The low level of interest in chatbots comes after Telstra suffered teething problems in March with its virtual assistant powered by machine learning, Codi.

However, ASX-listed start-up Flamingo has signed several insurance firms globally to its sector-specific artificially intelligent chatbot Rosie.

The YPO members showed more interest in artificial intelligence generally than its application to chatbots, with 33 per cent planning an AI or machine learning investment within the next year.

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