Business leaders want to have a say when artificial intelligence (AI) platforms make decisions.
This emerged from a survey of 1 000 business leaders by human capital software firm Workday. The study examines the state of AI in the enterprise, including the current perception among business leaders of the technology’s benefits, challenges and opportunities.
Among the key findings, 93% of surveyed business leaders believe humans should be involved and have oversight on AI decision-making.
It also showed that 77% of respondents are concerned about the timeliness or reliability of the underlying data.
Some 29% said they are very confident AI and machine learning (ML) are being applied ethically in business; 73% of business leaders are feeling pressure to implement AI at their organisation; 80% agree AI and ML help employees work more efficiently and make better decisions; and 72% said their organisation lacks the skills to fully implement AI and ML.
According to Workday, nearly three-quarters (73%) of surveyed business leaders are feeling pressure to implement AI at their organisations, but the majority are wary of giving up too much decision-making power.
“Our latest study confirms AI and ML are essential for achieving success in the evolving landscape of work – this view is shared by the majority of business leaders globally. However, the organisations face difficulties with deploying these technologies because of the skills deficit,” says Jens Löhmar, Workday CTO for continental and Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
“Operationalisation of AI and ML strategies also slows down due to ethical concerns, lack of data integrity and addressing employee fears that these technologies may displace jobs. To effectively embrace AI and ML, it is crucial to prioritise augmentation of human insight and decision-making.”
More than 90% of the respondents said they currently use AI within their operations for managing people, money, or both, and 80% agree AI and ML help employees work more efficiently and make better decisions.
The need for investment in this area is clear – 80% of respondents agree AI and ML are required to keep their business competitive.
Despite wide-spread adoption and broad agreement around the case for AI and ML in the enterprise, the survey shows concerns remain about its accuracy, ethics and security.
Some 77% of respondents are concerned about the timeliness or reliability of the underlying data, 39% consider potential bias to be a top risk when considering AI, and 48% cite security and privacy concerns as the main barriers to implementation.
Only 29% said they are very confident AI and ML are being applied ethically in business right now, but are more optimistic about the future – with more than half (52%) saying they are very confident it will be applied ethically in five years.
The survey found this grouping of business leaders are considering AI’s impact on the workforce of today and tomorrow.
Nearly half (45%) believe AI and ML will benefit workers, augmenting workloads and creating new career paths.
Some 43% are more cautious, warning AI and ML will replace certain tasks, causing some unemployment among workers.
The study also shows 12% are more doubtful, saying AI and ML will replace humans completely and have a negative impact on workers.
While these leaders agree it is critical for humans to be involved in AI decision-making, the survey also found a critical skills gap in successful AI implementation.
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said their organisation lacks the skills to fully implement AI and ML, and a slightly higher percentage (76%) said their own knowledge of AI and ML applications needs improvement.