In terms of benefits for the workplace and the corporate world, the impact of AI has already proven itself to be opportune and impactful with regards to daily operations. PwC carried out an AI Business Survey in 2022, where it was established that ‘86% of CEOs view AI as an essential aspect of their operations, not as physical robots or complex machines but as software to assist with daily tasks’. In the same PwC report, it was highlighted that leaders in AI are exploring three business outcomes by adopting the technology: enhancing decision-making, business transformation and the modernisation of systems. Organisations that embrace the holistic approach are more likely to see better success than companies that take a singular view.
One of the most notable benefits in daily operations is the automation of tasks. The fact that AI driven platforms can automate tasks across many different sectors of business and computer based applications means that staff can focus their energy into other tasks that demand complex human creativity and problem solving. This in turn is beneficial because it allows companies to enjoy greater efficiency and productivity due to the fact that AI platforms are able to streamline processes that fuel more rapid decision making. The adoption of AI in day-to-day operations allows companies to leverage machine-learning algorithms, enhance their customer service and optimise their supply chain management.
Ultimately this impacts a company’s data management and analytics. AI can be empowering for businesses as its implementation enables companies to process and analyse large quantities of data in real time. Acting on such a task is often arduous and challenging for humans to process. Therefore adopting AI in everyday business operations allows companies to be truly innovative and have a greater competitive edge in comparison to their counterparts. This is especially true of product testing, the development of prototypes, establishing patterns and trends in data.
Yet despite these great benefits, we cannot ignore the risks. There is great concern with regards to AI ethics. Its use raises questions surrounding the accuracy, biases, transparency and accountability of the data. Such AI platforms could potentially adopt the biases of data in which they are trained. The privacy and security of data used by businesses in AI platforms could potentially be at risk. This is inclusive of operational and client data that could result in either an intentional or inadvertent collection of data that violates regulatory laws. This is challenging for companies to manage as governments across the world are starting to implement plans to regulate AI. At time of writing, the FCA is set to publish its plan for regulating the technology in the next coming weeks. With regards to the regulatory landscape, we are currently treading on unclear waters. This is risky for those that have been early adopters of the technology as there is a potential for the banning of AI platforms or stricter regulations being implemented. Unless businesses act swiftly to these regulatory changes, they risk a hefty fine and losing capital investments.
Like other technologies, the use of AI exposes companies to cyber risks and systems can be hacked for malicious purposes. Should a system be hacked, a company could be subject to financial loss and data breaches. The consideration of cost will be significant for all business leaders. Implementation can be costly in terms of the initial investment but day to day use will also require ongoing operational costs. This directly impacts the level of resources a business has to implement and manage the technology. This is inclusive of hardware, software, data storage and dedicated staff to operate the systems. Recent AI platforms have been developed so quickly that they are complex to manage and will require ongoing training for staff to ensure successful adoption, especially if this means integration with legacy systems. Whilst larger organisations can take such costs in their stride, smaller and medium-sized businesses will not always have the same level of resources and budget.
As we look to the future, it is clear that the success and implementation of AI is becoming the rule and is no longer the exception. Yet there is greater uncertainty of what the road to mass adoption in day to day operations will look like for businesses in the regulatory landscape. It is true that 2023 will be a defining year for AI and companies should approach the implementation of such technology into their day to day operations with caution until regulatory laws are given the green light. By doing so, businesses can effectively strategise the adoption of the technology that truly enhances their business and suits their operational model, whilst also managing costs effectively.