Will AI regulation restore order? New research finds two-thirds of corporate leaders don’t think future AI policies will provide the necessary guardrails

by | Jun 24, 2024 | Public Relations

So far, AI in the business world has been like the early days of the internet—a veritable wild west of often risky experimentation and trial-and-error usage with few guidelines or policies regulating it. With regulators now taking action in the fast-moving AI-implementation landscape, new research from global consulting firm Berkeley Research Group (BRG) finds that corporate leaders aren’t counting on new rules to result in more responsible use—only about one-third believe current regulations are very effective and that future policy will provide the necessary guardrails that companies need to reduce risks.

The firm’s new Global AI Regulation Report, based on survey responses from over 200 corporate leaders and executive-level lawyers in diverse industries around the world—plus in-depth interviews with executives, attorneys, and BRG experts—assesses where AI regulation currently stands, challenges organizations face in complying, and what key stakeholders see as most important for the development of effective AI policy. The report includes breakdowns of data in key industries (retail and consumer goods, technology, and financial services), regions (North America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia–Pacific) and roles (lawyers and executives).

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Organizations lack confidence in their compliance readiness

In today’s uncertain regulatory landscape—where the misuse of AI creates significant regulatory, litigation and reputational risk—just four in 10 respondents are highly confident in their organization’s ability to comply with current regulations and guidance. When it comes to internal safeguards to promote responsible and effective AI development and use, the majority of respondents—and particularly those in the retail and consumer goods sector—have yet to implement any of them.

AI regulation

Lawyers, as well as respondents from North America generally, are particularly skeptical about the efficacy of current and future AI regulation. But uncertainty also breeds opportunity.

“More and more, we’re seeing a gap between what outside counsel recommends and what executives are open to when it comes to AI policies and procedures,” said Amy Worley, a managing director and associate general counsel at BRG, in a news release. “Good advisers can say yes, there is a lot of regulatory uncertainty, and where there is uncertainty there is also value.”

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Future AI policy priorities

Respondents broadly agreed that the three most important future focus areas for AI regulation are data integrity, security and accuracy/reliability. Yet priorities diverge when the survey results are broken out by region and industry. Executives want policy to be more adaptable/flexible and transparent/explainable, while lawyers are most concerned about it being enforceable. Technology and financial services respondents prioritize adaptability/flexibility too, while retail and consumer goods respondents favor strictness. All want comprehensiveness, though this may not be so simple.

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“Creating broad, comprehensive guidelines may prove more difficult than people imagine,” said Richard Finkelman, a managing director at BRG, in the release. “A fault line already exists, for instance, between the US and the EU over AI regulation and ethics—and it’s getting larger, not smaller.”

The report also offers a thorough snapshot of where current AI policy stands, from the EU’s recently passed AI Act to the US’s more decentralized approach to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ more business-friendly Guide on AI Governance and Ethics. It also delves into mounting issues with AI-generated fake evidence and the risks of noncompliance.

Download the full report here.

Additionally, the report discusses implications for the US healthcare sector, drawing on findings covered in BRG’s recent AI and the Future of Healthcare report.

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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