Eight out of 10 CEOs and business leaders in the United States are optimistic about artificial intelligence, a study has found.

There is a long history of fear surrounding AI — remember when Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and Stephen Hawking signed a letter warning developers to research the societal impacts of the technology?

But according to EY, those fears are dying down, with 85 percent of US CEOs and business leaders “AI optimists”. They cite increased investment and trust in the technology as the reasons for their confidence.

A whopping 87 percent of respondents plan to invest in AI projects this year, and 82 percent expected their businesses will be disrupted by AI to some extent within the next three years.

But there is still a way to go before the rank-and-file are totally convinced of the technology’s benefits, and that’s no surprise — one AI expert estimates 40 per cent of jobs could go the way of the dodo in the next 15 years.

33 percent of respondents believe that employee trust is one of the greatest threats to widespread adoption of AI, and 32 percent of respondents ranked consumer trust as a large threat.

“As the global AI race heats up and businesses increase their investment in AI technology, leaders need to work with their employees to ensure reliability and performance remain top of mind when integrating AI,”  EY chief innovation officer, Jeff Wong, said.

“Employees need to be able to trust, utilise and maximise the full potential of the technology, as well as see its benefits for scaled implementation to be successful in any organisation. Beyond company walls, businesses, governments and academia need to build a road map for success that includes solutions for developing strong talent and up-skilling the current workforce.”

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