Few Irish companies have set up rules for using AI systems, survey says

Majority of business leaders see AI tech as threat to trust among workers and bosses

Just 7 per cent of bosses currently have AI or so-called GenAI governance structures in place, according to a survey from PwC Ireland. Photograph: iStock

Hardly any top Irish business leaders have set up rules for using artificial intelligence (AI) systems, even as the vast majority expect the technology to transform their business.

Just 7 per cent of bosses currently have AI or so-called GenAI governance structures in place, according to a survey from PwC Ireland. That figure has changed little since November when the survey was last carried out. Despite the lack of structures, more than 80 per cent of those surveyed said they expect “GenAI to have a positive or transformative impact on their businesses in the next five years”.

More than 90 per cent of the close to 100 business leaders who took part in the study said they believe GenAI will increase cybersecurity risks in the year ahead. The technology may also increase other risks such as legal liabilities and reputation risks as well as the spread of misinformation and bias towards specific groups of customers or employees, they said. Close to three quarters of respondents believe AI will not aid their efforts to build trust among employees while less than a third “are confident that the processes and controls over GenAI in their organisation lend themselves to safe and secure outcomes”.

This year is “definitely a ‘moving year’ for Irish organisations in relation to AI”, PwC Ireland chief technology officer David Lee, said. “This increase in activity levels also highlights the importance of having the appropriate governance in place to safely deploy AI-related technologies. While there is evidence that more organisations have plans in place to address this, there is more work to be done to give effect to these plans.”


The report reveals great optimism about the potential of AI for business, but little in the way of concrete impact so far. While around 80 per cent of executives expect the tech to create “increased efficiencies” for themselves or their workers, barely a quarter report “realised operational efficiencies” so far.

“It will be important that processes are in place to ensure proper value and return on investment is obtained from AI and GenAI initiatives and the survey highlights that there is still significant work to be done in this area,” Aisling Curtis, market leader for strategic alliances at PwC Ireland, said.

Still, there appears to be an increased expectation that AI will lead to job losses in the years ahead. About 55 per cent of business leaders do not expect AI to result in net job losses, but that is down from 83 per cent from November. Back then, 70 per cent of leaders did not plan to use AI to address labour shortages or increase automation. Now that figure has fallen to 46 per cent.

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan is an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times