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Telcos see more gain than pain from generative AI – Capgemini

Artificial Intelligence Concept. Microprocessor with the letters AI.

If generative AI does end up accidentally wiping out humanity, it might be because most companies – including telcos – thought it was worth the risk.

69 percent of operator respondents to a Capgemini survey published on Thursday agree that the benefits that generative AI brings outweigh the associated risks. So while it might end up spreading misinformation and reinforcing prejudice, it will at least be able to recommend the right service plan, or direct a customer’s query to the appropriate answer. So, every cloud, and all that.

Telcos’ collective appetite for risk is reassuringly below the average score of 74 percent in Capgemini’s survey. Unsurprisingly, 84 percent of high tech firms think it is worth pushing on with gen AI in spite of the potential downsides – possibly because high tech firms are among those at the leading edge of AI development in the first place. Somewhat worryingly, so do 82 percent of aerospace and defence organisations, even though these are probably the ones that have to be most careful about swapping human for artificial intelligence.

As has been well documented here and elsewhere, such is the degree of concern about AI’s potentially problematic side, that some governments are pushing on with regulations designed to keep it in check.

Towards the end of last month, US President Joe Biden gave an overview of recent meetings with AI experts that will inform his government’s approach to managing the risks it could pose. The EU is even further ahead, having held its first vote on its proposed AI act, which would impose various rules and guidelines on companies working on AI.

Capgemini’s survey turned up some interesting ideas about how to tread carefully with AI.

69 percent reckon AI will lead to the emergence of new corporate roles, including AI auditors and AI ethicists. 68 percent believe that integrating AI into the workforce will require significant investment in upskilling and cross-skilling of staff.

As for what benefits might materialise, there is broad consensus among the respondents.

83 percent said chatbots for automating customer service and improving knowledge management would be the most relevant gen AI-based tools, while 75 percent pointed to its potential for designing, collecting, or summarising data. 78 percent think AI will make product design more efficient, and 71 percent said it will make customer experiences more interactive and engaging.

Capgemini also found broad agreement about the potential environmental impact of every company running compute-intensiive AI processes.

78 percent of enterprises understand that generative AI can have a larger carbon footprint than traditional IT programmes, and therefore nearly 80 percent understand the importance of implementing and scaling it sustainably. While only 8 percent of the organisations in the survey plan to train their own AI model, around half of them have already taken steps to mitigate the environmental impact of doing so.

“Generative AI is a transformational force for innovation in organisations, accelerating industry specific use cases to create value, and it’s no surprise that it’s already at the top of the agenda of virtually every large organisation,” said Franck Greverie, Chief Portfolio Officer and Group Executive Board Member at Capgemini, in a statement.

“While generative AI can enable numerous benefits for businesses and employees alike, adopting a human-centric approach while scaling the technology and implementing necessary guidelines will be key to fostering trust in the workplace,” he said. “As businesses accelerate their generative AI journeys, they must prioritise implementing it sustainably across the organisation.”

 

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