Large numbers of businesses have expressed worries over the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI), according to a recent survey conducted by cloud accounting company Xero. The survey reached out to 3000 small businesses in six countries, including New Zealand, to gauge their attitudes and approaches towards AI in the workplace.
The survey results revealed that 78 percent of respondents from New Zealand were concerned that the development and adoption of AI technology were outpacing regulation. Data privacy and sensitive information disclosure were the primary concerns for approximately half of the surveyed local firms. In addition, 44 percent of respondents highlighted worker displacement as one of the biggest ethical challenges associated with AI.
Despite these concerns, about a third of the respondents were actively seeking ways to integrate AI into their operations. Some businesses showed interest by making investments and engaging in experimentation, while another third remain hesitant and have yet to take any steps towards AI adoption.
Xero’s chief executive, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, acknowledged the mixed sentiments reflected in the survey results. She emphasized that while many small businesses are excited about the capabilities AI can offer, there is also a growing reticence due to concerns about the lack of regulation keeping pace with technology advancements.
Singh Cassidy highlighted that although regulation might not be keeping up, there is already a high level of AI usage in businesses, with a level of trust in handling sensitive company and customer data. Xero itself is actively incorporating AI into its products, with the company recently rolling out upgrades that offer features like quicker information gathering, invoice processing, and reduction of duplication.
Addressing concerns about AI, Singh Cassidy mentioned that Xero is committed to providing education and support to clients regarding AI implementation while balancing innovation with safeguards. Despite the recent layoffs of up to 800 workers worldwide, Xero is confident that it is in a stronger financial position to pursue a balanced agenda of growth and profitability.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What were the primary concerns of businesses regarding AI implementation?
Approximately half of the local firms expressed concerns about sensitive information disclosure and data privacy.
What were the ethical challenges associated with AI mentioned in the survey?
Worker displacement was highlighted as one of the biggest ethical challenges by 44 percent of the respondents.
What percentage of businesses were concerned about AI development outpacing regulation?
The survey revealed that 78 percent of New Zealand respondents were concerned about AI development outpacing regulation.
Were businesses actively seeking ways to integrate AI in their operations?
Yes, about a third of the surveyed businesses expressed interest in using AI and were actively pursuing ways to incorporate it into their operations.
What steps is Xero taking to address AI concerns?
Xero is committed to educating and assisting clients with AI concerns while striking a balance between innovation and safeguards.