We’re not worried about AI…it will allow us to work more flexibly, say employees

Two pieces of research have hit this publication’s inbox which give a further indication to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) among businesses and employees. A study from Adecco found that almost half of employees (48%) surveyed believed AI would enable them to work more flexibly, while research from Rocket Fuel argued the majority of millennials say it can help brands in terms of informing better buying decisions.

The Adecco research, which polled 1,000 board level executives and 1,000 workers across the UK, argues that despite various conjecture around AI killing jobs, two thirds (65%) believe technology has increased the number of jobs available to them, while 54% added it will continue to create more jobs than it destroys over the coming decade.

The optimistic opinion around the ‘AI may make us redundant’ line is that employees can outsource the more mundane aspects of their work to robots and in the process devoting more time to creative projects. Indeed, 58% of workers polled by Adecco believe this; and while certain tools, like one published by the Financial Times this month, can approximate how much an employee’s job can be automated, it is also wise to note alongside it the scare stories, not least Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, who confirmed at the start of this year it was making 34 employees redundant to be replaced with IBM’s Watson Explorer.

Yet the tone of the Adecco study is one of optimism. “In many ways, robots could enhance careers rather than destroy them,” said Dr Carl Benedikt Frey, co-director and Oxford Martin Citi Fellow of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment. “The introduction of automation in the workplace will usher in a time where our jobs will become more creative and involve more social interaction.

“Although robots will render some occupations obsolete, as technology has in the past, humans and robots will also complement each other in many tasks, creating new types of jobs,” Frey added.

Rocket Fuel, on the other hand, argues benefits for brands abound in the shape of personalised advertising and offers. It also found an appetite for this change is clear among consumers – almost two thirds of the 1,895 European respondents said it was an exciting development in technology – while awareness is also growing, with 61% of those polled saying they recognised its usage in the home and in media, advertising and marketing respectively.

“Artificial intelligence can help marketers navigate the oceans of data that exist today and anticipate the moments a consumer is most likely to notice them or take interest in their brand, products and services,” David Gosen, GM global platform solutions and SVP international at Rocket Fuel said. “This means they can offer real-time, contextual targeting that allows them to find potential customers and serve ads that are anticipated, even enjoyed, rather than irritating.

“This is really only the beginning of the journey,” Gosen added. “As artificial technology continues to develop we expect to see it incorporated into our lives and experiences in deeper and more meaningful ways.”


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