A study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that by 2030, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy. Technologies like conversational user interfaces, blockchain have found their way into mainstream business operations and organizations are becoming increasingly reliant on them. The advent of a new disruptive technology is usually accompanied by major changes in the workplace and in the case of AI, the manager-employee dynamics and employee-computer interactions are likely to change.
In an attempt to uncover insights on the relationships between employees, managers and machines, Oracle partnered with Future Workplace to survey 8370 people from ten countries to find their attitudes towards AI.
The findings of the survey were remarkable and may influence the HR leaders and managers. A majority of the survey respondents were enthusiastic about AI while a small portion of them were concerned about job losses. But there was general consensus that AI will transform their workplace positively.
AI’s positive impact on employee-technology relationships: This study revealed that workers believe that AI can present them with opportunities like being able to master new skills, free time to pursue other organisational goals, and develop a strategic role in the company.
70% of the respondents expressed a moderate optimism about AI with HR leaders leading the way (38%), followed by managers (31%) and employees (19%). The reluctance to adopt due to uncertainty is easing up as only 24% of the 2019 respondents “felt unsure” about AI compared to 38% of the 2018 respondents.
People’s trust of robots over their managers: Workers now trust robots more than they trust their managers. 82% of the respondents think that robots can do certain works better than their managers while 64% said that they trust a robot more than their manager. Half of them admitted to have turned to a robot instead of their manager for advice. While the degree to which people trust robots more than their managers varies across geographies, 32% of all workers from the study said that robots will replace managers.
The need for managers to take on new roles: The survey has found that managers and robots have niche roles. The survey’s respondents are of the view that managers are better at understanding their feelings, coaching them, creating a work culture, and evaluating team performance, while robots are better at providing unbiased information, maintaining work schedules, solving problems, and managing budgets. AI can relieve their administrative burden and allow them to focus on strategy and build high-performing teams.
Organizations’ need to address AI’s security and privacy concerns: Security and privacy concerns are the biggest barriers for the adoption of AI in the workplace. Around 70% of the respondents expressed their concerns over data-security breaches due to AI usage and collection of data on their work activities. They felt that they should be assured of greater data security and privacy. The majority of the respondents (76%) also cited AI complexity as a barrier and wanted a simplified experience.
It is evident that AI is becoming increasingly relevant and employees are accepting it. While the complexity surrounding it and the security and privacy concerns can act as barriers, ethical and innovative solutions can help change people’s perspective about the technology.