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Generative AI use rising, but organizations lack policies

Even though the use of generative artificial intelligence is rising, organisations are not yet prepared with policies, training, and effective risk management, a survey by global digital trust association ISACA has found. The poll revealed a high degree of uncertainty around generative AI, with few company policies around its use, lack of training, and fears around its exploitation.

Among respondents in Asia, only 32% organisations said their companies expressly permit the use of generative AI. Only 11% said their organisation has a formal, comprehensive policy for generative AI in place. Nearly one in three companies said that no policy on generative AI exists and there is no plan for one.

The ISACA poll surveyed more than 660 professionals in Asia who work in audit, risk, security, data privacy, and IT governance to get their opinion on the current state of generative AI.

How Generative AI Is Being Used
Of the survey respondents, 42% said that employees in their organisations are using generative AI regardless, and the percentage is likely to be higher considering that another 30% aren’t sure whether employees are using the technology or not.

Employees are using generative AI in multiple ways, including creating written content (67%), increasing productivity (41%), customer service, such as chat box (30%), automating repetitive tasks (28%), and to improve decision-making (23%).

Lack Of training And Awareness Of Ethical Considerations
Despite employees jumping on the generative AI bandwagon, only 5% of respondent organisations are providing training to all staff on AI, the survey found. More than half (52%) of the organisations said that no AI training at all is provided, even to teams directly impacted by AI. Of the respondents, only 23% indicated that they have a high degree of familiarity with generative AI.

“Employees are not waiting for permission to explore and leverage generative AI to bring value to their work, and it is clear that their organisations need to catch up in providing policies, guidance, and training to ensure the technology is used appropriately and ethically,” said Jason Lau, ISACA board director.

Additionally, the poll looked at ethical concerns regarding AI, with 29% respondents admitting that not enough attention is being paid to ethical standards for AI implementation.

Risk Management Needs To Be Prioritised
Only 25% organisations surveyed considered managing AI risk to be an immediate priority. Thirty-one percent said it is a longer term priority, and 29% said their organisation does not have plans to consider AI risk in the near future.

Nearly half (45%) of organisations indicated they are very, or extremely worried about generative AI being exploited by bad actors. Bad actors are mastering AI more quickly than digital trust professionals, with 65% saying adversaries are using AI as successfully as, or more successfully than digital trust professionals.

With regard to the top risks associated with the technology, 65% indicated misinformation/disinformation, followed by privacy violations (64%), social engineering (48%), loss of intellectual property (46%), and job displacement (33%).

Impact On Jobs
The survey found that almost one in four (24%) organisations is opening job roles related to AI-related functions in the next 12 months. Fifty-seven percent believed a significant number of jobs will be eliminated due to AI. Yet, 71% of digital trust professionals think AI will have some positive impact on their jobs.

Of the respondents, 28% think the number of jobs could increase, and 86% said they will need additional training to retain their jobs or advance their career.

Optimism Amid Challenges
The survey found the overall outlook for generative AI to be positive, with 84% respondents saying it is a tool that extends human productivity.

Over the next five years, 84% believe generative AI will have a positive or neutral impact on their industry, with an equal number believing it will have a positive or neutral impact on their organisations. Of the respondents, 83% believe it will have a positive or neutral impact on their careers, and 76% believe it will have a positive or neutral impact on society as a whole. Bloomberg

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