EY survey reveals CEOs embrace AI potential despite concern

European financial CEOs are embracing AI potential, according to EY, but 63% are concerned about unintended consequences and potential risks

A survey conducted by EY of CEOs across Europe has shown that AI is ultimately being embraced as a “force for good,” but concerns over unknown consequences still remain.

According to the company’s CEO Outlook Pulse Survey that was released in July 2023, more than half (56%) of European financial services CEOs believe that AI is working well to drive business efficiency. However, 63% have said that not enough is being done to manage unintended consequences.

AI and its use cases are continually being debated as AI use continues to explode into all aspects of life. However, whilst it has great potential, it is still important to be mindful of fraudulent or fake media that breaches pre-existing media.

71% say AI is used within strategy, with 63% continuing to remain wary

The July 2023 edition of the pulse survey canvassed the views of 96 European financial services CEOs on their strategic plans. Main concerns were revealed to be that while leaders embrace the potential advantages that AI can bring to businesses and society, they are concerned about the potential risks of emerging ’generative AI’ capabilities. 

More than half (51%) of Europe’s financial services CEOs have already integrated AI into their capital allocation, with 43% planning to do so within the next year. In addition, nearly three-quarters (71%) of financial services CEOs say AI is already being used within their strategy operations, with just 5% having no plans to incorporate AI into the workplace.

Yet, despite CEOs embracing the opportunities that are being created by AI, nearly two-thirds (63%) remain cautious of possible “unintended” consequences, according to the survey.

More than half of respondents stated that they believed more needed to be done in order to mitigate against AI “bad actors” who could use it to harm, such as by creating deepfakes or by spreading misinformation. The report also highlights how 52% of those surveyed believe that there should be a stronger focus on responsible AI and the ethical implications of it on key infrastructure.

“Ethics must remain central as firms progress their tech capabilities”

EY suggests that European financial services CEOs continue to adapt their investment strategies to maximise benefit. 94% are integrating AI, with half (51%) actively investing in the technology and 43% hoping to make investments within the next 12 months.

The survey aims to show how leaders believe that AI will support the human workforce, rather than replace it. It will do this by bringing value to current processes and improving efficiencies within businesses.

Patrice Latinne, EMEIA Data & Artificial Intelligence Financial Services Partner at EY, said: “Europe’s financial centres are increasingly tapped into the disruptive capabilities that AI offers today, but that does not mean there aren’t concerns about its application. AI is infinitely innovative, which – while exciting – comes with challenges. 

“Governance and transparency are increasingly crucial to the safe adoption of the technology, and ethics must remain central as firms progress their tech capabilities. With many firms and individuals maintaining an understandably cautious attitude, particularly towards generative AI, building confidence focused on the exponential value to be created will be fundamental to successful implementation.”



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