Artificial intelligence like OpenAI’s ChatGPT is expected to be a game changer for businesses — but some tech workers just aren’t convinced, a new study suggests.
For a November report, Retool, a software company, surveyed more than 1,500 tech workers — software engineers, product folks, designers, business leaders, and execs — across industries to understand how they feel about the current state of AI.
More than half of the tech workers surveyed — 51.6% of respondents — say that AI is overrated, the researchers found.
Their skepticism around AI may be, in part, because there simply isn’t enough evidence to show how AI can have monumental impacts for businesses, whether that’s gains in productivity or higher quality work, David Hsu, the CEO and founder of Retool, said.
“Bigger picture, a lot of people haven’t found business use cases yet, or the “killer” AI solution that really transforms their work,” Hsu told Insider in an email.
Respondents who find AI to be overrated, Hsu said, don’t feel like they can totally rely on AI at its current state. Crafting a ChatGPT prompt that produces a desired output takes time, he said, and AI chatbots tend to spit out inaccuracies, which could discourage workers from using the technology in their jobs.
“AI sounds great until the rubber hits the road, and it turns out that preventing hallucinations is hard, and if you can’t guarantee accuracy… AI isn’t very useful,” Hsu said.
Still, the attitudes around AI hype were found to vary based on a worker’s role. Employees in non-managerial roles across all levels skewed slightly more towards thinking AI was overrated, while those in upper management roles like the C-suite had more favorable views. Business leaders may want to pursue AI as a way to cut costs, keep up with competitors, and generate more revenue, per the study.
Even though some tech workers are skeptical of AI, only 14.4% of those who deemed AI to be fully overrated said their employers were over-investing in the technology. Workers, Hsu said, want to be able to reap the potential benefits of AI — but only once the technology has matured.
“Absolutely, they are skeptical, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also see potential,” Hsu said in regards to AI. “But as the space evolves, and as we start to see more real, effective use cases in production, sentiment will probably evolve too.”
Retool’s findings on AI come as workers across tech use AI tools like ChatGPT to write code, analyze data, and troubleshoot bugs.
“Artificial intelligence is very important, but there’s a lot of crazy hype on the subject,” Charlie Munger, an American billionaire investor, said during a conference in October.
“Artificial intelligence is not going to cure cancer. It’s not going to do everything that we want done.”
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