Mason Hayes & Curran: Most businesses likely to invest in AI this year

Mason Hayes & Curran: Most businesses likely to invest in AI this year

Brian McElligott

More than eight in 10 business leaders are likely to invest in AI tools and technologies this year, according to a survey by Mason Hayes & Curran.

The business law firm polled more than 300 attendees at a recent webinar titled ‘Artificial Intelligence — When Law and Business Collide’, which focused on the new AI laws and what they mean for business both now and in the future.

Of respondents, 44 per cent said they were likely and 39 per cent said they were very likely to invest in AI tools and technologies in 2024.

However, nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) have data privacy and security concerns when it comes to adopting AI in their business, while 41 per cent identified regulatory and compliance issues as their greatest concern, highlighting the complexity of navigating AI’s legal landscape.

A full 50 per cent of respondents said quality and accuracy were the biggest risks with using generative AI. Job displacement was at the bottom of the list of concerns.

Brian McElligott, partner and head of AI at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “The data indicates a clear trend towards AI adoption among Irish businesses, coupled with a prudent awareness of the challenges and risks involved. It’s a balancing act between embracing innovation and mitigating potential legal and operational challenges.”

More than half of respondents (53 per cent) said that understanding legal requirements is their biggest challenge in achieving compliance with AI laws, followed by lack of expertise (28 per cent).

In addition to legal challenges, the survey highlighted the impact of new AI laws on day-to-day operations, with 88 per cent of participants expecting significant (37 per cent) to moderate (51 per cent) changes.

Mr McElligott said: “The new AI laws will have practical, everyday implications for Irish business leaders and their operations, whether that be updating internal engineering and development procedures or investing in conformity assessments and staff training and development.

“It is important for companies to adopt a proactive stance, ensuring compliance with the evolving legal framework while leveraging opportunities to boost operational efficiency and foster innovation.”

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