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AI and the Future of Business: A Quick Finger on the Pulse of AI Awareness, Use Cases, and New Regulations

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This morning, I awoke to a flurry of news regarding President Biden signing a sweeping executive order concerning AI. The Washington Post regarded this action as “the most significant effort to date from the U.S. government to grapple with this technology.” As part of the order, requirements will be outlined about how advanced AI products should be tested “to assure they cannot be used to produce biological or nuclear weapons,” per The New York Times. The order is calling on federal agencies to lessen the risks associated with AI, while also evaluating and regulating its use on levels other than that of national security; standards for companies to label AI-generated content are on the horizon, like requiring AI-generated photos, videos and audio to be watermarked.

“President Biden is rolling out the strongest set of actions any government in the world has ever taken on AI safety, security and trust,” said Bruce Reed, a White House deputy chief of staff. “It’s the next step in an aggressive strategy to do everything on all fronts to harness the benefits of A.I. and mitigate the risks.”

In a similar breath, we have a new AI-centric survey from IONOS, a cloud provider and expert IaaS provider for SMBs. IONOS surveyed 1,000 Americans regarding the use of AI in business, curating the feedback about current AI usage, building awareness, and the need for more regulations (which ties back to Biden’s new order).

Here are the long-story-short takeaways for you:

  • IONOS’ results illustrated a welcomingly high level of AI awareness, as well as the support for its active use in business applications. 71% of survey respondents rated their level of AI knowledge as “Fairly Good” to “Very Good.” Just at face value, this is great; the talk around AI wasn’t nearly as mainstream in 2021 or even 2022 as it currently is, so boosts in awareness on both casual and enterprise levels are solid.
     
  • When asked about the advantages of AI in the workplace, respondents cited large to very large advantages in simplifying and speeding up processes (49%), relieving staff of standard, manual and laborious tasks (46%), developing exceptionally creative ideas (46%), and providing support for product development and innovations (43%). – Editor’s Note: At Future of Work News, we’ve been nonstop writing about all things AI for over a year now. Though AI support for workforces isn’t perfected yet, by any means (nor will it likely ever be; so goes the nature of cutting-edge tech developments), the fact that more people understand that AI isn’t a replacement for human effort but an assistant to it instead is great. I recall when ChatGPT first launched and amidst our collective awe, there were absolutely immediate worries about it taking virtually everything over. Instead, AI is now largely seen as an extraordinarily knowledgeable and efficient resource; a guiding hand through processes is far better than it being seen as, you know, the next Skynet.
  • Although acceptance of AI is growing, so too are other concerns; less about it wholesale replacing human ingenuity, but more so about the unfortunately high risks of misinformation (46%). Then, scattered between 36% and 39% were survey respondents’ opinions about the quality of AI-generated content, its influence on the current generation (and what it’ll mean for the next; a generation where both the internet and AI are already commonplace in society), and also ethics with AI. (e.g. violation of copyright, how it’s trained in relation to data security, etc.)
  • Overall, even with this real positivity in mind, 75% agreed that AI requires more regulation.

Achim Weiss, CEO of IONOS, had this to say:

“I am pleased that awareness of AI and its enormous potential is increasing. However, there are also reservations that show we still need to build more trust, because one thing is clear: AI is becoming increasingly important. As a cloud provider, we support our customers with new AI tools and functionalities to use this groundbreaking technology for their business processes. As a strong digitalization partner, IONOS guarantees the security, transparency and data sovereignty of the new services."

Every time I write about AI, its growth, its pitfalls and whatever else, I find myself wanting to wrap each article up with a clean conclusion about these topics. However, that simply isn’t realistically feasible right now. We, as a people, are living through history when it comes to the rise and proliferation of AI, not too dissimilar to people who were first introduced to the internet, to the first iPhone, and so on. (NVIDIA’s CEO even called this “The iPhone Moment” for AI.) So, we’ll continue reporting on what we can as AI permeates how we do business and how we operate, simply put, as individuals.

Be part of the discussion about the latest trends and developments in the artificial intelligence space at Generative AI Expo, taking place February 13-15, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Generative AI Expo discusses the evolution of GenAI and features conversations focused on its potential across industries. The expo also covers how the technology is already being used to create new opportunities for businesses to improve operations, enhance customer experiences, and create new growth opportunities.


Edited by Alex Passett
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