Generative AI in Business: Disruption or Disillusionment? 

Written by

Matt George

Partner, Head of Research

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Written by

Annie Phifer

Research Manager

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Written by

Jessa Scott-Johnson

Senior Director - Research

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Written by

Eunice Yau

Director – Research

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Business leaders see generative AI as a competitive opportunity to disrupt their sector, not a threat – but are they as truly ready as they need to be in order to disrupt (and not be disrupted)? 

MIT Technology Review Insights polled 300 senior business leaders across industries about how organizations are implementing (or planning to implement) generative AI. The prevailing sentiment: optimism. 78% saw generative AI as a competitive opportunity, and only 8% considered it a risk. This reflects organizations’ overwhelming desire to become early adopters of generative AI – hoping to lead their industries by making use of new technology. 

However, this optimism might be short-sighted. Experts agree that successful implementation of generative AI requires data – and lots of it. While companies have ambitious plans to adopt generative AI in 2024 (71%, for example, expect to use it for automating tasks in 2024), few (less than 30%) admit their company’s capabilities are conducive to rapidly adopting the tech. And even these 30% might be overly optimistic: those with the most generative AI experience report less confidence in their company’s IT capabilities (those that support AI rollout) than their peers do. 

Of those who currently use generative AI, 54% use it to automate repetitive, low-level tasks – a less ambitious use than executives’ optimistic forecasting about disruption would lead you to believe. However, after automation, the next most common use of generative AI is to innovate products (33%). Because generative AI can currently create text and video, the media and communications sector is the one that most frequently (57%) utilizes the product innovation capabilities of generative AI. 

The bottom line: to be disruptors, companies need to amp up their IT capabilities and educate their employees, else they risk being on the wrong end of the disruption cycle. 

Pointers for successful adoption: 

Don’t adopt generative AI just to say you did. Instead, make sure your adoption strategy feeds into your business plan AND that you have the IT capabilities to support the tech. 

Invest in training your talent. 25% of experts pointed to a shortage of available talent as a barrier to successful generative AI utilization. Make sure employees are educated in AI’s risks, limitations, and benefits. 

Put internal policies and procedures in place to govern the use of AI tools. More guiderails are needed for most companies to ensure the usage matches the company’s mission and values.  

See below for how generative AI can assist creatives, thanks to Seven Letter Labs: