While UK workers are growing increasingly receptive to the use of generative AI tools in their daily operations, many have lingering doubts that they are unable to use these technologies safely.
A study from Salesforce found that more than one-third (38%) of workers are already using - or planning to use - generative AI in their jobs. However, a majority of survey respondents (62%) said they lack the skills to use them “accurately and safely”.
Common concerns around accuracy and safety focused specifically on the potential for generative AI platforms to generate inaccurate, false, or misleading information.
Nearly half (46%) revealed they held serious reservations about inaccurate outputs from these tools.
Similarly, 58% said they were concerned about issues relating to bias when using generative AI technologies.
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The issue of accuracy has been a long-running trend since the emergence of tools such as ChatGPT in late 2022.
While generative AI has been hailed as a transformative technology for improving productivity, concerns over the accuracy of the content generated by these platforms have been a recurring talking point.
Some organizations have already advised workers against using them in workplace settings, while others like JPMorgan Chase said they will not be embracing generative AI until the widely known flaws have been addressed.
Zahra Bahrolouloumi, CEO at Salesforce UKI, said that although organizations are embracing the potential benefits of generative AI, safety and responsible use remains a key stumbling block.
“Generative AI is the most important technological breakthrough of our lifetime, revolutionizing how businesses interact with customers,” she said. “But its potential will only be realized if we put trust and safety at the center of this technology.”
‘Trusted’ data and security skills a key requirement
Salesforce revealed that skills shortages at organizations across the UK pose a serious challenge to the uptake of generative AI tools.
Previous research from the firm found that just one-in-ten UK workers felt they had adequate AI-related skills, including the knowledge of how to effectively use generative AI tools.
This latest study appears to reinforce the pervasive issue of skills shortages, highlighting that over two-thirds (67%) of workers are “concerned their broader teams do not have the skills to effectively and safely use generative AI.
The long-running shortage of applicable skills is being exacerbated by the fact that organizations aren’t investing in training to use generative AI tools, the study noted.
More than three-quarters (79%) of workers said their employers do not provide “any form” of generative AI training to support them in using these tools.
Over half (55%) said they would like their employers to provide them with training opportunities to maximize the use of such tools and alleviate concerns over safe usage.
Salesforce’s study found that the ‘democratization’ of AI skills should be viewed as a critical goal for enterprises to fully maximize the use of generative AI technologies in operations.
Despite this, the survey noted there is a growing disparity between senior staff and the broader workforce at many organizations over how to responsibly integrate tools.
More than three-quarters (77%) of C-suite and managing director-level employees said they were confident about their ability to safely implement generative AI technologies. However, fewer than one-third (35%) of senior and junior managers (29%) held the same views on the matter.
Bahrolouloumi said the need for upskilling “at every level has never been more clear nor urgent” and urged organizations to prioritize training regimes for staff.
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Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.
He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.