Written by 9:52 pm AI Business, Uncategorized

### Unexpected Survey Results: AI Unranked in Top 20 Business Risks Among 3,000 Corporate Leaders

Cyber attacks consistently rank as the No. 1 threat to businesses, while corporate leaders put AI w…

Despite the ongoing debate, a recent survey of 2,800 managers and executives revealed that business leaders do not express significant apprehension regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Contrary to expectations, AI did not emerge as the primary concern for these professionals; in fact, it failed to even make the top 20 list. As per a study conducted by Aon, a management consulting firm, AI was ranked as the 49th most substantial threat to businesses.

Instead, cyber attacks and data breaches are highlighted as critical issues by business leaders, regaining the top spot since Aon’s last survey in 2021. Respondents representing various internal company functions, industries, and global locations identified other pressing concerns such as business operation disruptions, economic downturns, and talent retention challenges.

This disparity in perceptions between internal and external stakeholders raises questions about the perceived risks associated with AI. With 48 more pressing concerns ahead of AI on the list, one might ponder whether the perceived danger of AI has been exaggerated or if business leaders are underestimating the implications of this emerging technology.

According to insights from Aon’s report, survey participants may be underestimating the risks posed by AI. The report suggests that AI presents “significant risks to organizations” and should have garnered a higher ranking based on participant feedback.

Karim Lakhani, a Harvard Business School professor specializing in AI applications in business, emphasized the transformative potential of AI. He expressed surprise at the low ranking of AI, stating that it should be placed among the top five or top three concerns.

Lakhani underscored the necessity for a hands-on approach to AI integration, emphasizing that CEOs and managers must actively engage in identifying both challenges and opportunities presented by AI. He attributed the lack of proactive engagement to executives’ fatigue from rapid technological advancements in recent years, leading to a saturation of buzzwords like blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and AI.

While survey participants acknowledged the future implications of AI, ranking it as the 17th most significant threat down the line, they continue to prioritize cyberattacks as the primary concern.

The slow adoption of AI across various business sectors may contribute to the perceived lack of urgency in addressing AI risks. Sectors such as professional services, finance, technology, media, and the public sector, which have heavily invested in AI, view it as a top-ten risk.

The prevalence of cyberattacks as a critical risk factor is well-founded, given the escalating frequency of data breaches. The potential impact of cyberattacks on revenue, reputation, and individuals is substantial, as evidenced by recent incidents like the 23andMe data breach.

As highlighted in a UK government report, AI introduces new dimensions to cyber threats, enabling hackers to execute sophisticated attacks with greater efficiency. While AI can enhance defensive capabilities against cyber threats, its misuse poses significant risks to businesses.

Lakhani emphasized the increasing importance of cybersecurity and AI readiness at the organizational level. Boards are now focusing on crisis management teams, cybersecurity expertise in leadership roles, and educating top-level executives to address these evolving risks effectively.

In conclusion, the underestimation of AI risks by businesses underscores the need for proactive measures to mitigate potential threats and leverage the transformative potential of AI responsibly.

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Last modified: February 5, 2024
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