Main image of article Welcome to 'Bring Your Own Artificial Intelligence' (BYOAI)

Although generative AI is a relatively new technology, it’s already enjoying an insane adoption rate: according to a new study by LinkedIn and Microsoft, some 75 percent of “global knowledge workers” are using it in some way.

LinkedIn and Microsoft’s 2024 Work Trend Index Annual Report suggests this adoption (which has nearly doubled in the past six months) comes with a thorny issue for companies everywhere: rather than follow their employers’ protocols when it comes to AI use, many employees are deploying their own AI to help them complete their own tasks. Call it “BYOAI” (Bring Your Own AI), an update of “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device) which drove IT and corporate cybersecurity professionals crazy for so many years in the 2010s.

This approach means missing out on the benefits that come from strategic AI use at scale. It also puts company data at risk in an environment where leaders’ #1 concern for the year ahead is cybersecurity and data privacy,” the report added.

Compounding the issue: many workers are reluctant to admit they’re using AI to help them with tasks: “Fifty-three percent of people who use AI at work worry that using it on important work tasks makes them look replaceable.”

Of course, Microsoft has an interest in companies everywhere taking a top-down approach to AI adoption—it sells a growing portfolio of AI-powered services, after all. But that aside, it’s true that more workers, including tech pros, are figuring out how AI can impact their workflows, and it behooves managers and executives to figure out how to make that transition as safe and effective as possible.

If you haven’t yet begun to learn about generative AI, there are a variety of online courses that can help you learn about its intricacies, along with certifications to prove your knowledge