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Survey: Companies have mixed feelings about generative AI

AI concept
Companies are using generative AI, but have concerns.

Corporate users of generative artificial intelligence (AI) see great potential as well as substantial risk in the rapidly evolving technology.

According to a new survey of more than 400 C-suite and IT professionals from Portal26 and CensusWide, 84% of respondents have invested or plan to invest in generative AI, which is based on machine learning (ML) and can create new content and ideas, such as conversations, stories, images, videos, and music.

However, 73% of respondents have already experienced a generative AI security or misuse incident, and 67% of those occurred in the past year. Out of those respondents whose businesses have adopted AI, 85% are concerned about its privacy and security risks.

Top generative AI concerns
The survey revealed a range of concerns surrounding GenAI for businesses:

  • Rules and compliance both internal and external (64% and 62%, respectively); 
  • Governance (63%);
  • Employee use of prompts (63%);
  • Intelletual property protection (62%);
  • Data security (60%);
  • Employee training (58%);
  • Shadow AI (unknown or unsanctioned use of GenAI - 58%);
  • Data privacy (56%);
  • Bias in training (55%). 

Data security is a particularly pressing issue for surveyed large organizations of 5,000 or more employees, 93% of which reported heightened concerns around shadow AI. According to Portal26 analysis, this is because the more employees a company has, the more potential entry points for a bad actor or inadvertent human error.

Optimism is high for generative AI – with some restrictions
Regardless of concerns, respondents also expressed a positive outlook for the benefits of generative AI for their businesses, with 82% reporting high confidence that GenAI grants them a competitive advantage. However, 80% have already instituted guidelines and policies around AI, while 68% of have created and shared acceptable use policies to ensure that employees don't inadvertently share private information or accidentally violate compliance mandates.

Investment in education lags  

Virtually all respondents (99%) said that they have or are going to invest in a GenAI data governance tool for their company, and 0% said it was not being considered (1% were unsure). One-third already have such programs in place, and 32% are in the early conversation stages. 

At the same time, employee GenAI training is lagging behind technological developments, with almost six inn 10 (58%) respondents providing less than five hours of annual education and training on GenAI issues to their employees.

"With the widespread adoption of GenAI among corporations, we're witnessing a massive experiment take place in real time," said Arti Raman, founder and CEO of Portal26. "The benefits of GenAI are undeniable, but a lack of visibility will invariably lead to lower productivity and higher risks around security, Shadow AI, governance, privacy and more. 

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