The initial craze over generative artificial intelligence (AI) appears to have morphed into exercised caution, with organizations now mandating or mulling over bans on the use of such tools.
Some 75% of businesses worldwide currently are implementing or considering plans to prohibit ChatGPT and other generative AI applications in their workplace. Of these, 61% said such measures will be permanent or long-term, according to a BlackBerry study conducted in June and July this year. The survey polled 2,000 IT decision-makers in Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, US, and UK.
Respondents pointed to risks associated with data security, privacy, and brand reputation as reasons for the ban. Another 83% expressed concerns that unsecured applications were a security threat to their IT environment.
However, while 80% noted that it was within an organization’s rights to control the applications employees used for work purposes, 74% said bans exhibited “excessive control” over business and bring-your-own devices.
Caution aside, most do recognize the opportunities generative AI can deliver, with 55% citing increased efficiencies. Another 52% believed the technology could drive innovation, while 51% said it would enhance creativity.
Some 81% also agreed generative AI could be tapped for cybersecurity defense.
BlackBerry’s CTO for cybersecurity Shishir Singh said: “Banning generative AI applications in the workplace can mean a wealth of potential business benefits are quashed.”
He noted that companies instead should look to innovate with “enterprise-grade” generative AI, focusing on value over hype, and adopt caution when dealing with unsecured consumer generative AI tools.
“As platforms mature and regulations take effect, flexibility could be introduced into organizational policies. The key will be in having the right tools in place for visibility, monitoring, and management of applications used in the workplace,” Singh said.
Gartner this week published research that also revealed generative AI to be a primary concern for enterprise risk executives.
The technology was the second most-cited risk in the research firm’s survey for the second quarter of 2023, surfacing for the first time among the top 10, said Ran Xu, director of research for Gartner’s risk and audit practice. The report surveyed 249 senior enterprise risk executives in May this year.
“This reflects both the rapid growth of public awareness and usage of generative AI tools, as well as the breadth of potential use cases and, therefore, potential risks that these tools engender,” Xu said.