A New Workpl-AI-ce Conundrum

By Mark Nutt Senior Vice President, International Sales at Veritas Technologies.

  • 3 weeks ago Posted in

Despite being the world’s ‘hottest’ topic, Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t new. In fact, it has actually been around for decades. 

 

The term was first coined in the 1950s, however it was really ChatGPT’s meteoric rise last year that rocketed generative AI into the headlines and onto the radar of many individuals who hadn’t previously felt the need to pay attention to this type of technology, including office workers. 

 

Today, AI's integration into everyday tasks is reshaping industries, enhancing efficiency, and fostering innovation. However, its sudden rise on the global agenda has left some businesses struggling to catch up and, as a result, highlighted several gaps in terms of communication about its use in the office environment.

 

It’s becoming increasingly clear that, in order to reap the many potential rewards associated with generative AI technologies, moving forward businesses will need to set clear policies and guidelines.

 

The rise of AI in the workplace

There’s no doubt about it, over the last 12 months or so AI has become a part of our every-day lives. In fact, according to recent figures half (49%) of UK office workers use generative AI at least weekly, signalling a massive shift is underway in workplaces that is revolutionising the way work gets done. In fact, a fifth (19%) of office workers are using generative AI tools at work every single day. 

For many, this is helping in terms of productivity. In fact, the research from Veritas found that two-fifths of UK office workers (37%) are using AI to do their research, 43% are using it to write their emails, and a fifth (17%) are using it to help write company reports. The time saved in these areas is then being spend on higher value tasks, which could explain why one in ten say they are simply using it to look good in front of their boss.  

It’s becoming increasingly clear that in today’s climate, the effective use of AI technologies could be a competitive differentiator for businesses. However, this is only true if they are appropriately integrated.

The importance of policy and regulation

 

Currently, there seems to be a certain level of confusion around the integration of generative AI in the workplace, which is proving to be a headache for organisations and employees alike.

 

In fact, the Veritas data revealed that half of UK workers (49%) are calling for more guidelines or mandatory policies on generative AI from their employers. Worryingly 44% of businesses currently offer no guidance at all. This lack of guidance is putting businesses and their employees at risk. There are other potential issues too – without guidance, certain staff might be more hesitant to use AI at all and then might start to resent their colleagues for using it, seeing this as an unfair advantage. 

 

Employees are not just seeking guidance from the businesses they work for. With the speed of developments in both the AI technology and its usage it is important for national and international legislation to keep pace. While some progress is being made – with the introduction of the regulation such as the EU’s AI Act and various AI Summits - most individuals want to see more legislative processes around the use of public AI technologies in the workplace. In fact, 85% of office workers believe that further regulation is needed, either at a national or international level.  

 

Taking the lead

 

The truth of the matter is that AI is here, and it’s here to stay. This technology is already providing great opportunities to help employees with their daily work – quickly, efficiently and cheaply. Whilst it’s being embraced by employees, businesses need to also get on board and make the most of what it can offer. 

 

Moving forward, businesses must thoughtfully develop and embrace new legislation and guidelines around the use of AI in the workplace. Those who fail to get ahead of this could face regulatory compliance violations or miss out on opportunities to increase efficiency across their entire workforce.

 

To succeed in this AI-driven landscape, education will be key. Thoughtfully developed and well communicated guidelines on the appropriate use of generative AI, combined with the right data compliance and governance toolset, is essential for businesses looking to stay ahead. It is only through clearly communicated policies around the appropriate use of AI technologies, that businesses will be able to unlock their full potential.

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