Generative AI: The Next Cloud-Computing Disaster?

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    The Unstoppable Rise of Generative AI: Why IT Executives Are Playing Catch-Up

    As I walked into the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in May, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu. The same concerns that surrounded the cloud in 2010 – governance, security, and responsible use – were now being raised about generative AI. But this time, the stakes are much higher.

    The writing is on the wall: employees are going to find a way to use generative AI, whether IT likes it or not. The era of "shadow IT" is upon us once again, and IT executives are struggling to keep up.

    "It’s not about controlling what employees can and can’t do," said Mathematica CIO Akira Bell. "It’s about teaching them the responsibility that comes with using these tools." But can IT executives really trust their employees to use generative AI responsibly? Or will they just end up creating a new generation of "AI cowboys" who care more about the tech than the consequences?

    Some, like GE Vernova’s Angelica Tritzo, are taking a cautious approach, piloting generative AI projects and assessing their potential impact. But others, like ServiceNow’s Chris Bedi, are already evangelizing the benefits of AI and encouraging employees to use it. "Talent will start demanding access to AI tools," he warned. "And if we don’t give it to them, they’ll question why we’re still stuck in the dark ages."

    The question is, can IT executives keep up with the pace of change? Or will they be left playing catch-up as employees use generative AI to bypass traditional IT controls and push the boundaries of what’s possible?

    The truth is, the genie is out of the bottle. Generative AI is here to stay, and IT executives would do well to focus on teaching employees how to use it safely and effectively, rather than trying to shut it down. The future of work is AI-powered, and it’s time for IT to get on board.

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