A new study found that most companies now use AI to generate text, images, and code. 67% of the companies surveyed said they currently have some generative AI. And over a third of those started using it in just the last year – so it’s still pretty new for them.
But many companies are still just testing AI and figuring out how to best put it to use. Only 18% have live applications powered by generative AI so far. Companies said it’s been tricky narrowing down the most helpful uses for AI (53% said that was their top hurdle) and managing risks around legal issues, biases, and privacy (around 40% cited those challenges).
“Generative AI has huge potential to help businesses grow and improve all types of operations,” said Mary Treseler, a leader at O’Reilly Media who published the report. “But companies need employees with the right skills to manage these fast-changing technologies.”
And there’s high demand for those skilled workers – like AI programmers, data analysts, and operations specialists – who can help implement the technology responsibly. Over half of companies said general AI literacy among staff is crucial so people understand their strengths and limitations.
About half of firms using AI are already testing for problems like biased outputs, security risks, unintended outcomes, and privacy issues. As AI advances, ethical testing will only grow more critical.
Over half believe AI will significantly increase productivity. Few expect it to reduce headcount – it’s seen as making workers more efficient, not replacing them.
The most common uses today are for programming (77%), data analysis (70%), and customer-facing applications (65%). Areas like marketing, communications, and design could benefit, too – almost half are experimenting with AI-generated content.
As companies get smarter about generative AI, it promises to transform all kinds of business functions. However, thoughtfully managing risks and building expertise are key to realizing its full potential.