Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic of discussion this year among tech and cybersecurity professionals and the wider public. With the recent advent and rapid advancement of a number of publicly available generative AI tools—ChatGPT, Dall-E, and others—the subject of AI is at the top of many minds. Organizations and individuals alike have adopted these tools for a wide range of business and personal functions.
The latest global survey from McKinsey Global Publishing polled thousands of executives and managers on the current state of AI. The results of the survey provide valuable insights into the ways businesses are using AI, along with professionals’ projections for the future.
1. Generative AI Use Is Widespread
One of the major points driven home by the results of the survey is the fact that generative AI is already seeing widespread use by many organizations. Despite the relatively new technology and the kinks that have yet to be worked out, it is quite common for companies to experiment with generative AI tools. A staggering 79% of respondents state that they have had some exposure to generative AI either at work or otherwise, while 22% are already regularly using it at their jobs.
One-third of those surveyed responded that their organizations currently use generative AI regularly for at least one function of the business, and more than one-fourth of respondents from companies that use AI stated that generative AI is on the agendas of their boards. Organizations in all industries and across the globe are employing generative AI tools for purposes ranging from marketing and sales to threat intelligence but reported use is highest among respondents from the technology sector and in North America.
2. AI High Performers Are Ahead with Generative AI
Organizations where respondents report that at least 20% of EBIT in 2022 could be attributed to AI use are known as AI high performers. These companies are more likely than other organizations to invest in AI and adopt new tools earlier and faster when it comes to both generative AI and traditional AI capabilities. AI high performers use generative AI for more business functions than other organizations, particularly in product and service development and risk and supply chain management.
The use of generative AI by high performers is also leveraged for different purposes by these AI-minded organizations. High performers are more likely to cite creating new businesses or sources of revenue and increasing revenue from core business as their top objectives for planned generative AI activities, while other organizations tend to focus more heavily on reducing costs in core business and increasing the value of offerings with the help of AI.
3. AI Is Expected to Effect Substantial Workforce Change
As AI technology and functionality evolves, organizations’ need for AI-related talent shifts as well, and survey respondents foresee substantial changes in the workforce as a result of this. Organizations making use of AI have been hiring data engineers, machine learning engineers, and AI data scientists in an effort to support the goals of their AI initiatives. Engineers for AI-related software, however, are being hired at a much lower rate than the previous survey showed.
Hiring talent to fill the needs created by the adoption of AI tools remains challenging for many companies, but the survey results show a slight improvement in these numbers. The predictions of survey respondents regarding the impact of AI adoption on the workforce in the next three years show a great deal of expected change. Almost 40% of respondents anticipate more than one-fifth of employees at their organization to be reskilled in that time, although few expect to see major changes in the number of employees.
4. Adoption and Impact of AI Remain Steady
Although the use of generative AI tools is widespread and continuing to grow, the survey shows that overall adoption of AI is not increasing. The percentage of organizations that have adopted AI remains at 55%, and less than one-third of respondents cite AI adoption for more than one business function. This shows that AI adoption is still limited in scope despite its popularity, being sequestered to a small subset of business functions.
There is little change in the areas where AI is used—this is the fifth AI survey running where product and service development and service operations are the two areas with the highest rates of AI adoption. Only 23% of respondents say that at least 5% of their organizations’ EBIT was attributable to AI usage last year, another figure that is very similar to the previous survey. Organizations also largely have not advanced their cybersecurity strategies along with their AI capabilities—a little over half of respondents acknowledge that cybersecurity is a risk of generative AI, yet only 38% of these organizations have measures in place to mitigate the risk.
The use of AI—and especially generative AI—is popular right now, with organizations and individuals making use of AI tools every day. The latest McKinsey survey demonstrates the major growth in use of generative AI, trends in AI-related hiring, and the overall current state of AI use by organizations.
While there have been shifts in a number of areas, including the decreased difficulty of hiring for many AI-related roles and the adoption of generative AI tools, there are also areas where there has been little change, like the overall adoption of AI and the functions that AI serves for organizations. There is plenty of room for organizations to take advantage of AI to a greater degree and capture more value from their AI tools.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire.