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Execs push back on top-down demand to adopt generative AI, citing consequential concerns about trust, bias, data complexity and skills gap

by | Aug 7, 2023 | Public Relations

When artificial intelligence pioneer Geoffrey Hinton gave up his CEO position at Google earlier this year on his mission to sound the alarm about the dangers of the AI he helped create, he wasn’t necessarily referring to the tech itself, but rather the risks of putting it in the hands of malicious intenders. “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things,” Hinton said in a recent media interview. And who are these “bad actors”? If you ask consumers, they tend to associate the term with unscrupulous business leaders and marketers—and even corporate executives themselves can see the possible fallout.

New survey research from enterprise analytics platform Teradata finds that execs at large enterprises around the world are facing unprecedented pressure to adopt generative AI (GenAI) into their business operations, and although nearly 80 percent of the 900 global executives surveyed by research partner IDC had a high or significant level of trust that GenAI could be leveraged for their company’s future offerings and operations, most say more work needs to be done before a large-scale deployment takes place. 

Reeling in the risk

Eighty-six percent of respondents agree more governance is needed to ensure the quality and integrity of GenAI insights, and 66 percent also expressed concerns around GenAI’s potential for bias and disinformation. Many also expressed concern about ever-increasing data complexity, and managing a growing skills gap—just 30 percent say they are extremely prepared or ready to leverage GenAI today, and only 42 percent completely agree that they will have the skills in place to implement GenAI in 6 to 12 months. 

Execs push back on top-down demand to adopt generative AI, citing consequential concerns about trust, bias, data complexity and skills gap

Nonetheless, the pressure to implement is mounting, with 56 percent of respondents confirming they are under “high” or “significant” pressure to leverage GenAI within their organization in the next 6 to 12 months. And interestingly, while 89 percent said they understand GenAI’s merits and potential, not all are convinced it will remain the darling of public opinion it is today—more than half (57 percent) believe interest in GenAI will fade with time.

Doing the right things

The survey also explored concerns around data privacy and ethics, particularly with ChatGPT becoming a near-overnight phenomenon. Across the globe, companies said data ethics and the responsible use of data was paramount (92 percent of respondents), and 97 percent said they were intimately familiar with data ethics and the responsible use of data within their own organizations. Nearly 9 in 10 respondents confirmed they have a formal ethical data resource or board in place.

Execs push back on top-down demand to adopt generative AI, citing consequential concerns about trust, bias, data complexity and skills gap

The survey also showed companies are becoming digitally mature, with 54 percent saying the information flow within their organizations is either very unconstrained or highly unconstrained and free flowing. As for their ability to maximize insights from data, 49 percent said their companies do a better than average job, and 33 percent said they perform at an expert level of creating value from the data available within their organizations.

IT complexity is on the rise

The survey also revealed the extent to which executives say their organizations have been impacted by major corporate changes over the last two years. Those polled noted their companies have seen a new or significantly increased focus on economic challenges and geopolitical changes/supply chain disruptions/wars/inflation (47 percent said this is true); a growing influx in work-from-home and hybrid work (47 percent noted this is true); and an increased focus on environmental/social and corporate governance (53 percent said this is true).

Execs push back on top-down demand to adopt generative AI, citing consequential concerns about trust, bias, data complexity and skills gap

With these additional pressures in place, it may not be surprising that nearly 70 percent of the respondents noted data complexity in their organization had increased, with 20 percent saying they have felt “significantly more complexity” in the last 24 months.

  • 85 percent said the complexity will remain constant or increase in the next two years
  • 20 percent remain convinced data problems will become significantly more complex.

Download an executive summary of the findings here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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