New Deloitte gen AI report: Business leaders concerned about societal impact, tech talent

Generative AI is moving so quickly that consulting leader Deloitte has published the first edition of a new quarterly survey exploring gen AI’s impact on the enterprise. The State of Generative AI in the Enterprise: Now Decides Next surveyed 2,800 respondents from director to C-suite level across six industries and sixteen countries.

One key survey finding showed that, while optimistic about the use of gen AI in their organization — 79% of respondents expect generative AI to transform their organizations within three years — they are most focused on gaining practical benefits today. More than half of business and tech leaders are particularly concerned that the widespread use of gen AI will centralize global economic power and increase economic inequality. In addition, technical talent is seen as the number one barrier to AI adoption, followed by regulatory compliance and governance issues.

Business leaders concerned about societal impacts of gen AI

Beena Ammanath, global head of the Deloitte AI Institute, told VentureBeat in an interview that she was pleasantly surprised by how business leaders are thinking about the broader societal impacts of generative AI.

“That’s a pretty high number that was a good surprise, as well as the fact that the majority of respondents agree that there is a need for more regulation and collaboration,” she said. “So that makes me feel very optimistic, that we’re not just focusing on business value creation — there’s still a lot to be done as it scales out, but at the same time, you’re trying to balance it out with the societal impact.”

Leaders feel positive about gen AI, but also pressured

Ammanath was also surprised by how much organizations are still relying on off-the-shelf AI solutions as opposed to building focused, differentiated, industry-specific gen AI solutions.

“Hopefully by the end of this year we might see these numbers changing,” she said. “The technology is still relatively new from an enterprise perspective, so that’s one metric I’ll be watching to see how the dynamic shifts.”

Another thing that stood out from the survey was that the organizations with very high expertise in gen AI tend to feel more positive about the technology, but at the same time more pressured and threatened, said Ammanath.

“Leaders of such organizations report higher levels of employee interest and technical preparation, but they’re also feeling more pressure, if they don’t do it, the competition is going to get ahead,” she said.

Looking ahead at generative AI in the enterprise

The Deloitte survey will be the first in an ongoing series of quarterly generative AI pulse surveys, with the initial effort designed to establish a strong baseline to build on.

“We’ll track to some of the same metrics,” said Ammanath about upcoming surveys. “It is still very early so you’re probably going to see very similar questions in the next round.”

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