Oracle report explores how employees have gone from fear to optimism with AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has already changed the relationship between employees and technology – and according to a new study, workers are more likely to trust robots than their managers.

The findings appear in Oracle’s second annual AI at Work study, which polled more than 8,000 employees, managers and HR leaders across 10 countries. 64% of those polled said they would trust a robot more than their manager, with half of respondents saying they have already turned to a robot instead of their superior.

It is worth noting at this juncture how a ‘robot’ is defined. The primary exploration is through chatbots. Almost two in three (65%) respondents, when asked whether they would want such software as co-workers, used expressions such as ‘excited’, ‘optimistic’, and ‘grateful.’ A gap appears between certain nations, however: while the vast majority of respondents in India (89%) and China (88%) say they would trust a robot, compared with the US (57%), France (56%) and the UK (54%).

Respondents reported a variety of use cases for AI in the workplace. The primary option, perhaps concerningly, was collecting data on employees and customers – cited by 31% of those polled. Developing software for training (28%) and managing customer support replies (24%) were also highly cited.

The report also explored perceptions of technological change. More than three quarters (76%) of workers, and more than four in five HR leaders (81%) say it is challenging to keep up with the pace of tech-based change in the workplace. When it comes to utilising AI at work user interface is key to employees, cited by 34% of those polled. Best practice training, cited by 30%, and personalised experiences (30%) were also cited.

“Over the past two years, we’ve found that workers have become more optimistic as they’ve adopted AI in the workplace and HR is leading the way,” said Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace. “The 2019 study shows that AI is redefining not only the relationship between worker and manager, but also the role of a manager in an AI-driven workplace.

“Based on the findings, managers will remain relevant in the future if they focus on being human and using their soft skills, while leaving the technical skills and routine tasks to robots,” added Schawbel.

 You can read the full report here (pdf, email required).

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data ExpoCyber Security & Cloud Expo and 5G Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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