The Struggle with Tech Anxiety in the C-Suite

Leaders around the world are becoming increasingly uneasy about the changes in digital tech. Recent surveys reveal that AI and machine learning are at the forefront for financial investment but are also contributing to high levels of stress among top executives.

AI: Attractive for Investment, Troubling for the Mind

According to a Kin + Carta study that involved 800 top business leaders, 15% chose these technologies as their main focus for financial commitment. Richard Neish, Global Chief Strategy Officer at Kin + Carta, mentioned, “The main reason for the worry among leadership is the fast pace at which these technologies can alter traditional ways of conducting business.”

But this keen interest has a downside. Nearly one-fifth of surveyed leaders indicate that AI and machine learning make them feel most uneasy. The survey mentioned, “Almost 20% of leaders find that AI and machine learning are the primary sources of anxiety among senior leadership.”

Morally Tricky Questions Around New Tech

A sense of unease goes hand in hand with ethical questions. Issues ranging from data privacy to unfair algorithms and job losses are part of the ethical quagmire. The study indicated that “35% of the leaders who felt uneasy about AI and machine learning thought the tech is advancing too swiftly.”

No Relief from Cyber Threats

Besides AI and machine learning, cybersecurity keeps executives awake at night. Survey data reveals that 24% of leaders are filled with concern due to ever-increasing cyber threats. Given that cyberattacks around the globe increased by 7% in just the first quarter of 2023, such concerns are far from unfounded.

Gaps in Skillsets: An Internal Worry

External threats are one part of the problem; internal shortcomings are another. Many leaders worry about whether their workforce has the skills to keep up with fast-changing tech. “Issues such as mistrust in data and a lack of skills internally can be managed,” advises Neish from Kin + Carta.

Another study confirms that 79% of small business owners see new tech adoption as critical for growth. 45% of HR managers think that clear AI policies should be a high priority for modern businesses.

More Financial Commitment to Digital Change Needed

Uncertainty might make one think that business leaders would hesitate to make new financial commitments, but that’s not the case. According to Kin + Carta, 75% of business leaders believe more money needs to go into digital changes within the next year. Also, 58% plan to allocate even more funds to tech in the next year than they have before.

How Businesses Plan to Tackle Stress

How do companies plan to face this rising tech unease? The answer seems to lie in preparing their workforce for the future and setting clear rules for using tech like AI.

“Many worries can be managed with proper investment,” says Neish, a point echoed by 45% of HR managers who believe creating an AI policy should be on the corporate to-do list.

We find ourselves in a period where tech advances are both a blessing and a curse for the business world. Leaders are caught in a bind, acting both as supporters and skeptics of innovation. One thing does remain clear, though: careful planning and financial commitment makes it possible for businesses to lessen some of this tech-induced stress.

Richard Neish leaves us with a bit of consolation, “Tech is changing at a fast pace, but it’s not unmanageable. All we need is thoughtful planning and targeted financial investment.”