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The AI trust gap remains brands’ biggest consumer obstacle: 8 in 10 businesses say AI adds value, but 4 in 10 consumers are fearful about its future

by | May 13, 2024 | Public Relations

Digital trust in all its forms has grown into a huge black cloud for brands and businesses over the past year, and AI, amid all its power and promise, is only adding fuel to that fire. Companies, as we know, have stopped at nothing to get Generative AI integrated in their operations, despite the risks it poses to those who don’t have the skillsets to use it responsibly. Perhaps for that reason, a large portion of the general public remains wary of the still-unfolding tech and the businesses who use it. This has been the case all along, and according to new research, it hasn’t changed.

A comprehensive new report from enterprise analytics firm Alteryx exploring the sentiment toward Generative AI in 2024 from both the business and consumer fronts affirms this disconnect—while over three-quarters (78 percent) of organizations say GenAI adds business value, 46 percent of general public respondents are skeptical about its value—and 42 percent are fearful about its future.

The firm’s Market Research: Attitudes and Adoption of Generative AI report, with research partner Coleman Parkes  surveyed 2,000 global IT business leaders and 3,000 members of the general public to gather insights that expose the differing perceptions of how the world is navigating and embracing GenAI. 

AI trust gap

Business understanding of GenAI vs the general public

  • The research highlights similarities in GenAI usage: 58 percent of the general public use GenAI to search for information, and 43 percent of businesses use it for data analysis.
  • Regarding sentiment, 76 percent of the general public feel positive about the increasing use of GenAI to create content they consume, but 44 percent added that its use needs to be regulated.
  • Interestingly, opinions on areas where GenAI should never be used differ, with 47 percent of the general public citing politics and 39 percent of business respondents citing healthcare decision-making.
  • 65 percent of business leaders reported that AI hallucinations negatively impact their overall trust in AI, while 73 percent of the general public say the same.

GenAI is starting to deliver business value, but challenges need to be overcome

  • In the last year, businesses have run an average of three pilots using GenAI, and 77 percent say the projects were very or extremely successful.
  • Businesses listed data privacy and security (41 percent), security concerns (39 percent), and quality and reliability of outputs (34 percent) as top challenges in scaling AI. Only 38 percent reported that ethical use guidelines were in place.
  • Getting training right today is essential, especially since 29 percent reported that a lack of skilled talent is holding them back from scaling GenAI across the organization. Yet, 19 percent of organizations using GenAI don’t offer any mandatory AI training.
  • 65 percent of businesses feel that GenAI will likely replace existing job roles in the organization over the next two to three years, while only 35 percent of the general public believe GenAI will lead to job losses.

AI trust gap

Usage and output concerns and challenges remain

  • Three in five (62 percent) businesses plan to continue to increase their investment in GenAI technologies. However, 42 percent of the general public is concerned about how hackers may use genAI to commit crimes, and 38 percent think it will give rise to fake news.
  • Almost half of the businesses say their organization has experienced misinformation produced by GenAI, and 39 percent reported that the material delivered by GenAI appeared to infringe on copyright or other intellectual property rights.
  • Similarly, 53 percent of the general public reported that information produced by GenAI was incorrect, and 39 percent believed it was outdated.

“Data literacy and a command of data analytics arguably remain critical to unlocking AI’s full potential while delivering ethical and trusted outcomes,” said Trevor Schulze, CIO at Alteryx, in a news release. “With high-quality, clean data at the foundation of AI, businesses need to accelerate the data journey without compromising on ethical considerations and policies governing the use of data and AI. Self-service platforms that empower non-technical users to access and analyze data while harnessing AI in a secure and trusted environment are ideal for fostering trustworthy genAI outcomes.”

AI trust gap

Read the firm’s blog post for more on the report.

The survey was conducted by Coleman Parkes from March to April 2024, and targeted 2,000 IT business leaders and 3,000 members of the general public in 11 countries. Demographics included business leaders that are IT decision-makers on data leadership teams in organizations across key sectors in the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. Nearly nine in ten (87 percent) of these respondents are part of the procurement initiative for genAI for their organization. They work in financial services, the public sector, manufacturing and technology for organizations with global revenue ranging from $50 million to over $10 billion. The smallest employs a workforce of less than 500 people and the largest has more than 10,000 employees. One in ten respondents works for a Fortune 500 company.

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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