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Two-thirds of small businesses to try generative AI over next 12 months

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Small businesses embrace generative AI tools

According to a recent report by FreshBooks, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on organizations continues to grow, with 25% of small businesses currently utilizing or testing generative AI tools. Encouragingly, two-thirds of these businesses plan to explore these tools for their work within the next 12 months. The report surveyed 1,000 small-business owners from diverse industries in the United States and Canada during May.

The findings suggest that small-business owners are not overly concerned about AI replacing their roles, as only 44% of respondents anticipated hiring fewer people in the future due to the capabilities of AI. Mara Reiff, Chief Data Officer at FreshBooks, explained, “Anxiety over AI has been growing lately, with workers in certain industries expressing concerns that their jobs will be replaced. In the world of small business, it appears that owners don’t feel particularly threatened and don’t believe artificial intelligence can do their jobs just as well as they can. On the other hand, their eyes are wide open to the potential of using AI as a support to help them scale.”

The survey revealed that the majority of current generative AI adopters are employing it for text generation purposes, while others are leveraging its abilities to create images or conduct general business research. Most respondents reported using AI-generated content on their business websites and social media platforms. However, fewer participants stated that they utilize generative AI content for customer support and communications.

Regarding the impact of AI on their businesses, 60% of respondents believed that AI would bring about significant changes within the next five years. The areas expected to be most affected include business analytics, sales and marketing, and customer communications, according to the report. On the other hand, respondents rated human resources, recruiting, and service delivery as the areas least likely to be impacted by AI.

Despite the growing adoption of AI, privacy, ethical concerns, and intellectual property issues were significant points of worry for 80% of small-business owners. This demonstrates a recognition of the potential risks associated with AI implementation.

Overall, the FreshBooks report highlights the growing acceptance and optimism surrounding the use of generative AI tools among small businesses. As these businesses explore AI’s potential to support their growth, they remain mindful of the ethical and privacy considerations associated with this technology.

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