Companies are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to automate and optimize business functions. But according to recent research, IT professionals who will be asked to implement the technology have decidedly mixed feelings about it, ranging from optimism to outright fear (and sometimes both at the same time). .
This is according to the 2023 State of Computing Report(Opens in a new window) from PCMag’s sister site Spiceworks Ziff Davis(Opens in a new window) (SWZD). For its research, the company asked 968 corporate IT buyers from North America and Europe whether their organizations currently use AI or plan to do so. Of those who answered in the affirmative, the answers to the follow-up questions were revealing.
It’s going to be awesome
On the positive side, many IT professionals see AI as a beneficial technology that can help them advance their careers. 74% of survey respondents agreed with the statement, “AI will automate tasks and allow more time to focus on strategic IT initiatives.” In other words, they are convinced that AI tools will free them from the more mundane tasks of their roles and allow them to focus on tasks that add value to the business.
Other opinions were more optimistic, with 67% saying “AI will be a critical part of our business strategy in the years to come.” (Fair enough.)
(Credit: Spiceworks Ziff Davis)
Still others seemed to envision a sci-fi future that looks more like movies than reality. When asked to answer the prompt “I plan to work alongside intelligent robots/machines in the next 5 years”, 62% of respondents answered yes.
What does all this mean? Clearly, the IT professionals surveyed regard the use of AI in modern enterprises as inevitable. As the cost of entry to AI continues to drop, enterprise software vendors will increasingly offer AI features as differentiating features.
What could go wrong?
Again, the same IT professionals interviewed by SWZD saw serious potential downsides to the growth of AI. Just over half of respondents agreed with the statement: “AI will put IT jobs at risk.” As was the case with previous phases of IT automation, some professionals fear that AI technologies will eventually become so efficient that they put humans out of work.
Even more survey respondents are concerned about how AI will be used for data analysis, especially when it comes to user data. The prompt “AI will create major data privacy issues” garnered agreement from 55% of respondents.
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But the fears of some respondents run even deeper. A remarkable 49% agreed with the statement, “Innovation in AI poses an existential threat to humanity” – perhaps reminiscent of the plots of dystopian science fiction. They would not be alone; no less than Tesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk described the AI as “summoning the demon”.
Regardless of their personal sentiments, however, most respondents seemed to agree that AI is here to stay, citing applications ranging from data analysis and automation to detecting intrusion and fraud in the security, natural language processing, web and social media analytics, and more.
Editor’s note: Spiceworks is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s parent company.
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