May 23, 2024

Generative AI a ‘game changer’ yet trust concerns remains among IT leaders

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Clara Shih, CEO of Service Cloud, Salesforce

A new survey of more than 500 senior IT leaders reveals that a majority 67 percent are prioritizing generative AI for their business within the next 18 months, with one-third 33 percent naming it as a top priority.

Despite the interest, most IT leaders have technical and ethical concerns with the technology that could impact its adoption in the coming year.

The data highlights the potential of generative AI, and shows what IT leaders will need to prime their tech infrastructure, data strategy, security and ethical guidelines, and employee skills necessary for the massive opportunities ahead.

Many senior IT leaders see generative AI as a ‘game changer’ and a tool to better serve customers

The majority of senior IT leaders 57 percent believe generative AI is a ‘game changer.’ They believe the technology has the potential to help them better serve their customers, take advantage of data, and operate more efficiently. This outlook is echoed even among the skeptics — 80 percent of those who say the technology is ‘over-hyped’ agree that generative AI will help them better serve their customers.

Ethical, operational concerns draw skepticism

 Thirty-three percent of those surveyed feel that generative AI is ‘over-hyped,’ with concerns that the technology brings the potential for security risks 79 percent and bias 73 percent.

Concerns extend beyond just those who feel the technology is ‘over-hyped’ — a majority of the 515 IT leaders surveyed are skeptical about the ethical implications of generative AI. Almost six in 10 59 percent believe generative AI outputs are inaccurate and almost two-thirds 63 percent agree there is bias in generative AI outputs (e.g. misinformation and hate speech). In addition, 71 percent agree generative AI would increase their carbon footprint through increased IT energy use.

Security risks, integration, and siloed data are top barriers to generative AI implementation

Businesses aren’t yet prepared for successful implementation: 65 percent of senior IT leaders can’t justify the implementation of generative AI at the moment. Surveyed leaders report major barriers to using generative AI successfully within their organization, and security barriers are particularly top of mind among those currently using the technology.

Because of these barriers, nearly all respondents 99 percent believe their business must take measures to equip themselves to successfully leverage the technology.

Collaboration can address generative AI’s technical and ethical concerns

Ethical use must underpin the use of generative AI. But despite raising ethical and security concerns, leaders aren’t yet sure how to put ethics into practice — about one-third 30 percent of businesses believe they must have ethical use guidelines to successfully implement generative AI within their business.

The responsibility is on businesses to work together and knowledge-share to make generative AI a reality across the enterprise. Leaders see collaboration as a key tool to ensure the technology is functional and used in an ethical way. The majority 81 percent of senior IT leaders believe generative AI should combine public and private data sources, Most 82 percent senior IT leaders think businesses should work together to improve the functionality of generative AI technology, Over 8 in 10 83 percent senior IT leaders think businesses must work together to ensure generative AI is used ethically.

“Generative AI represents a step change in how organizations across industries will analyze data, automate processes, and empower sales, service, marketing, and commerce professionals to grow customer relationships — but it comes with new risks and challenges,” said Clara Shih, CEO of Service Cloud, Salesforce.

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