Most Irish businesses have concerns around generative AI

25 Jun 2024

Image: © Maksim Kabakou/

PwC’s latest survey suggests many business leaders have cybersecurity fears with generative AI, but a majority also expect this technology to boost their businesses in the next five years.

Generative AI has drawn the attention of many Irish business leaders, but an “overwhelming majority” are concerned about the cybersecurity risks this technology presents.

That’s according to a new business leaders survey from PwC, which took answers from nearly 100 leaders to gauge how generative AI is impacting Irish businesses. The results suggest most businesses – 86pc – are at the early stages of exploration, testing or partially implementing AI technology.

PwC says this result is up from 54pc in its survey last year. But the report also suggests that 91pc of business leaders believe generative AI will increase cybersecurity risks in the year ahead. Some other generative AI risks highlighted by the respondents include legal liabilities, impacts to reputation, the spread of misinformation and the spread of bias towards specific groups of customers or employees.

Nearly 75pc of survey respondents believe this technology will not enhance their ability to build trust with shareholders in the next 12 months.

“With the majority of Irish business leaders not having confidence that GenAI will enhance their organisation’s ability to build trust, significant focus on implementing governance structures will be critical,” said Martin Duffy, PwC Ireland’s head of generative AI. “Good governance of AI systems will soon become a legal requirement under the EU AI Act and is welcomed by the majority of survey respondents.

“To realise AI’s value responsibly and securely, organisations must establish robust governance frameworks to be able to measure the benefits.”

A boost for the economy, but less for jobs?

The results of the survey show that many business leaders still anticipate positive results from this growing technology, as 83pc expect generative AI to have a positive or transformative impact on their businesses in the next five years. PwC said this result is up from 74pc in last year’s report.

More than three-quarters of Irish business leaders surveyed expect generative AI to have a positive impact on Ireland’s economy in the years ahead. But the results have changed significantly this year when it comes to how leaders feel this tech will impact jobs.

More than half of those surveyed are of the view that there will be an increase or no net impact on jobs as a result of generative AI, this is down from 83pc in last year’s report.

But it appears there is more openness to the idea of using generative AI to address labour shortages – 46pc said they would not use this technology for shortages or to boost workplace automation, but this is down from 70pc last year.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic