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by Sofia Villegas
22 April 2024
UK business leaders call out gap in AI policymaking

Generative AI expected to have 'major' impact on UK business | Alamy

UK business leaders call out gap in AI policymaking

Majority of UK C-executives are calling for more regulatory guidance on the safe use of artificial intelligence (AI) as transformation through cutting-edge technology as a top strategic priority ranks as the “major topic” on their leadership agenda, a survey has revealed. 

According to the latest C-suite barometer by international audit firm Mazars, those in the UK have a stronger focus on engaging policymakers compared to global leaders, with seven in 10 believing more government regulation is important.

Almost 60 per cent expressed having ethical concerns over AI, yet more than two-thirds admitted their organisations were already using it for internal processes and/or products and services.  

However, these figures are lower than the global average, with almost three-quarters of C-executive world leaders having ethical concerns over AI and around the same amount using it for internal processes and/or products and services.

More specifically, almost nine in 10 of those surveyed believed generative AI would impact their organisation, with more than half saying it the effect would be “major”.

Meanwhile, optimism and confidence have reached a record high, with 98 per cent of respondents predicting growth in 2024 and six in 10 saying it will come organically. 

International expansion has become a key business priority, with many UK firms setting the US as their top destination in the year ahead. 

The survey also revealed that the rate of organisations producing a sustainability report is 15 per cent lower than the global average, with the proportion of UK leaders budgeting for sustainability implementation and reporting also down since last year. 

It is believed that the reduction could be rooted in “understanding regulation” becoming twice the challenge compared to last year, ranking as the top challenge alongside data capture and quality. 

Many UK leaders also admitted to facing a gap in in-house skills to tackle sustainability properly, compared to leaders globally, who are more concerned about coverage on climate and carbon.

Elisabeth Maxwell, deputy chief executive at Mazars, said: “It is very encouraging to see such optimism among our UK clients for the year ahead despite the uncertain conditions that all businesses are facing. Companies are willing to put investment in again and there are exciting developments on the horizon for AI. 

“The feedback that Mazars C-suite barometer has highlighted is that more clarity is needed from regulators to enable businesses to make the best of the opportunities provided by potentially transformational technology and to enable companies to quantify success in sustainability practices.”

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