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Generative AI survey from Salesforce

IT Leaders Prioritize Generative AI as a Game-Changer, But Concerns Abound

Security and Ethical Issues Present the Most Pressing Worries, According to Salesforce Survey

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At least 67% of senior IT leaders are making generative AI a priority for their business within the next 18 months, and 33% even name it as a top priority. Yet most leaders have misgivings on the security and ethical aspects of the technology that could ultimately impact its adoption in the coming year, results from a new Salesforce survey of 515 senior IT leaders reveal.

The findings also show that 57% of the leaders believe generative AI is a “game-changer” with the potential to help them better serve their customers, take advantage of data, and operate more efficiently. Even skeptics agree: 80% of those who say generative AI is “overhyped” agree that customers can stand to benefit from the technology.

Generative AI is a category of artificial intelligence algorithms that can be used to create new content like text, images, audio, video, code, and simulations. However, recent new breakthroughs in generative AI have the potential to drastically change the way content can now be created, underscoring not only the technology’s potential but also its security risks and ethical implications.

“Generative AI represents a step change in how organizations across industries will analyze data, automate processes, and empower sales, service, marketing, and commerce professionals to grow customer relationships—but it comes with new risks and challenges,” says Clara Shih, CEO of Service Cloud at Salesforce.

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Among those surveyed, there are concerns that the technology could pose a security risk (79%) and exhibit bias (73%). Moreover, 59% believe that generative AI outputs are inaccurate, and 63% agree there is bias, such as misinformation and hate speech, in its output.

The survey findings indicate that businesses are not yet prepared for successful implementation: 65% of senior IT leaders are unable to justify deploying generative AI at present, and surveyed leaders report major barriers to using generative AI successfully within their organization, with security as the chief issue among those currently using the technology. As a result, 99% believe their businesses must take measures to successfully leverage the technology.

Leaders are also unsure about how to put generative AI ethics into practice, with 30% of businesses believing they must have guidelines on the ethical use of generative AI to successfully implement the technology. Leaders, however, see collaboration as a key tool to ensure the technology is functional and used in an ethical way.

Among senior leaders, 81% believe that generative AI should combine public and private data sources; 82% think businesses should work together to improve the technology’s functionality; and 83% say businesses must align in concert to ensure the ethical use of generative AI.

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