This illustration shows the ChatGPT logo on a phone in front of the OpenAI logo.
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The publicity surrounding Open AI’s ChatGPT has prompted 45% of executives to increase their investments in artificial intelligence, a new Gartner poll reveals.

“The generative AI frenzy shows no signs of abating,” said Frances Karamouzis, distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

Venture capital firms have invested more than $1.7 billion in generative AI offerings in the past three years, according to research Gartner published in January 2023. The areas that received the most funding to date are AI software coding and AI-enabled drug discovery.

“Organizations are scrambling to determine how much cash to pour into generative AI solutions, which products are worth the investment, when to get started and how to mitigate the risks that come with this emerging technology,” Karamouzis said.

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Generative AI has more pros than cons

The poll found that 68% of executives believe that the benefits of generative AI outweigh the risks, compared with just 5% who feel the risks outweigh the benefits. However, Karamouzis thinks executives may begin to shift their perspective as investments deepen.

“Initial enthusiasm for a new technology can give way to more rigorous analysis of risks and implementation challenges,” said Karamouzis. “Organizations will likely encounter a host of trust, risk, security, privacy and ethical questions as they start to develop and deploy generative AI.”

SEE: Learn how to use ChatGPT for just $20, and boost your bottom line (TechRepublic Academy)

CX is the impetus for most generative AI investments

Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, only 17% of executives indicated the primary purpose of generative AI investments was cost optimization, noted Bern Elliot, a distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner. Another 38% were focusing on customer experience and retention, while 26% focused primarily on revenue growth.

“This is significant, because it indicates that generative AI is perceived as offering broad new opportunities,” Elliot said. “I found this a useful breakout, as I do get a lot of customer service-related generative AI- and ChatGPT-related inquiries.”

As organizations begin experimenting with generative AI, many are starting with use cases such as media content improvement or code generation. While these efforts can be a strong initial value-add, generative AI has vast potential to support solutions that augment humans or machines and autonomously execute business and IT processes.

When asked to characterize the phase of generative AI adoption they were in, 70% indicated investigative or exploration mode, Elliot said. Another 15% were in piloting mode, and only 4% indicated production mode, he said.

“This is significant because it indicates the early stage nature of this technology. ChatGPT only came onto the main stage and media hype in late December,” Elliot noted. “Many of my inquiries are interested in use cases and understanding what the opportunities are.”

It is only in the last month that Elliot has seen a shift toward increasingly applied questions — for instance, governance, operationalization and techniques.

5 possible use cases for generative AI

Looking ahead, Gartner believes generative AI will not only augment and accelerate designs in many vertical industries but also has the potential to “invent” novel designs or objects humans have not.

AI use cases for generative AI are accelerating, specifically in five areas, according to Gartner:

  • Drug design.
  • Material science.
  • Chip design.
  • Synthetic data.
  • Parts design.

“Autonomous business, the next macro phase of technological change, can mitigate the impact of inflation, talent shortages and even economic downturns,” Karamouzis said. “CEOs and CIOs (who) leverage generative AI to drive transformation through new products and business models will find massive opportunities for revenue growth.”

The potential risks of generative AI

Gartner noted that it’s important to recognize that generative AI comes with risks, such as the potential for deepfakes and copyright infringement.

And in separate but related news, Geoffrey Hinton, who is often referred to as the “godfather of AI,” told The New York Times he quit his job at Google, citing concerns over the dangers posed by the technology. Hinton said he wanted to be able to speak freely about the risks of AI, and he is concerned that bad actors cannot be stopped from using it.

After OpenAI unveiled a new iteration of ChatGPT in March 2023, more than 1,000 tech leaders and researchers signed an open letter calling for a six-month moratorium on the development of new systems, citing the “profound risks to society and humanity.”

Poll methodology

This poll was conducted among 2,544 respondents as part of a Gartner webinar series in March and April 2023 discussing the enterprise impact of ChatGPT and generative AI. The poll results do not represent global findings or the market as a whole, Gartner said.

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