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British Businesses Must Build Trust to Operate GenAI, Finds New Survey

91% of Brits think that government regulations are a necessary measure to hold businesses accountable for how they use GenAI according to new research from global technology consultancy Thoughtworks (NASDAQ: TWKS).

The global study – which surveyed 10,000 consumers from 10 countries – reveals that the majority of Brits (77%) are feeling nervous about GenAI adoption in business and a third (35%) think that businesses should stop the rapid development of GenAI until effective government regulations are developed.

The findings – collected as the UK prepares to host the first AI Safety Summit in November – also suggest GenAI has the potential to shake up consumer loyalty. The majority (82%) of those surveyed favor businesses that proactively communicate how they are evaluating the ethical risks and social implications of GenAI.

When asked their biggest ethical concerns with GenAI, respondents cited ‘data use without consent’ (75%), ‘misinformation’ (73%), ‘harmful content’ (57%) and ‘societal biases’ (53%).

Holding businesses accountable 

Survey responses indicate that consumers expect the government to ensure  UK businesses adopt GenAI safely. According to the data, 91% of Brits argue that government regulations are a necessary measure to hold businesses accountable for how they use GenAI. A further three quarters (75%) agree that government regulation will help ensure the responsible and safe use of the technology.

When asked what improvements the government needs to make towards GenAI regulation in business, respondents cited ‘disclosure on how GenAI follows data-privacy laws’ (68%), ‘improved user education’ (56%) and ‘the inclusion of penalties if [rules] not followed’ (51%) as key factors.

However, Brits are sceptical about what an increase of regulation means for them. Nearly a third (30%) don’t think that increased AI regulation is actually for their benefit.

It’s not all doom and gloom for UK businesses. The data shows that if applied correctly, GenAI regulation will put consumer concern at ease, as 61% agree that they consider ‘abiding by regulation’ very important when buying a product or service.

Speaking on the report’s findings, Mike Mason, chief AI officer, Thoughtworks, said, “In a world where trust is paramount, businesses must understand that gaining the public’s confidence through ethical AI  is not just a regulatory obligation, it’s a strategic advantage. For decades, Thoughtworks has advised our clients on how to tap into the full potential of the latest emerging technology. While also ensuring that they build responsible governance into business processes to protect customers’ trust. GenAI offers endless possibilities. We’re helping our clients to prove out new capabilities that survey respondents are excited about, such as idea generation for more innovative products, faster support and more personalized experiences and then productionizing those experiments  as enterprise-grade software.”

Vanson Bourne’s principal research manager, Lauren Woodley said, “Thoughtworks took a unique perspective to the fast-paced topic of GenAI, exploring how consumers feel when interacting with businesses that use it. The findings are alarming, with UK consumers stating many concerns surrounding how businesses use their GenAI-related data. This emphasizes the social responsibility businesses have in building trust and reassuring consumers. If businesses are able to tackle the concerns through being proactive and transparent, the future of GenAI looks positive, but the overshadowing cloud of fear must be lifted first.