Features, Insight, Technology

39% in UAE using AI without employer or teacher awareness

Jad Haddad, Head of Digital, Oliver Wyman, India, the Middle East, and Africa.

Well over a third of the UAE’s workers and students are already benefitting from the enormous potential delivered from generative AI technologies, yet their employers and teachers are not even aware of this growing usage within their organisations.

Generative AI is the type of artificial intelligence technology that can produce various types of content for its users, including text, audio, and visual. Examples of generative AI applications that are popular in the GCC include: ChatGPT, GPT-4, Bard, and Synthesia.

At 39%, the UAE’s covert use of generative AI mirrors the global average, while Mexico is the highest at 46%, and Italy the lowest at 34%. By industry, 45% of those in manufacturing in the UAE have used AI without employer awareness, 38% of those in tech, and 33% in financial services.

The UAE research into AI behaviours was conducted in July 2023 by the Oliver Wyman Forum, the management consultancy’s think tank dedicated to building leadership communities to act on shared global challenges.

“The workforce of the future will be hugely, and in many ways positively, impacted by generative AI technology. That’s no longer up for debate”, says Jad Haddad, Head of Digital at management consultancy Oliver Wyman in India, the Middle East, and Africa. “However, the rate of adoption, and therefore transformation, will vary widely by industry and company, and that will depend greatly on policies, actions, and general openness. Enabling people who can use AI with purpose will be key to growth in the future”.

It is not surprising that 39% of employees and students in the UAE have used AI covertly, adds Haddad, because it has the potential, when approached correctly, to streamline and speed up processes, including those that are tedious. The risk factors need to be taken seriously, of course, but the more the technology is ignored by organisations, the more covert use will be seen which presents a severe cybersecurity threat.

“All GCC organisations need to be thinking seriously and boldly about early generative AI adoption policies now – it’s not something that we can just ignore. The AI technologies are well and truly out there”, concludes Haddad.

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