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Employees trust robots more than their managers

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Contrary to common fears around how artificial intelligence (AI) will reduce jobs, more workers across the globe admit to trusting robots more than their managers.

This is according to the second annual AI at Work study conducted online by Oracle and research firm Future Workplace, among 8 370 employees, managers and human resources (HR) leaders in 10 countries across the globe.

Delivering the survey findings this week at Oracle OpenWorld 2020, held at the Dubai Trade Centre Arena, Emily He, senior VP of human capital management marketing at Oracle, said AI is winning more hearts and minds in the workplace, as workers evolve from fear to showing more enthusiasm for working alongside robots.

The study found the increasing adoption of AI in the workplace is having a significant impact on the way employees collaborate, and they are ready to welcome AI-colleagues with open arms. It further highlights that workers are looking at the increasing adoption of AI in the workplace as an opportunity to acquire new skills and deliver more strategic work for their organisation.

“More employees, managers and HR leaders across the globe are welcoming AI in the workplace with love and optimism. The latest advancements in machine learning and AI are rapidly reaching mainstream, resulting in a massive shift in the way people across the world interact with technology and their teams,” said He.

According to the study, 50% of workers used some form of AI at work in 2019 compared to only 32% the previous year.

Workers in the United Arab Emirates (62%), China (77%) and India (78%) have adopted AI over two times more than those in France (32%) and Japan (29%).

The majority (65%) of workers are optimistic, excited and grateful about having robotic co-workers and nearly a quarter report having a loving and gratifying relationship with AI at work.

According to the study, 64% of people would trust a robot more than their manager and half have turned to a robot instead of their manager for advice.

Workers in India (89%) and China (88%) are more trusting of robots over their managers, followed by Singapore (83%), Brazil (78%), Japan (76%), UAE (74%), Australia/New Zealand (58%), US (57%), UK (54%) and France (56%).

It further reveals workers in India (60%) and China (56%) are the most excited about AI, followed by UAE (44%), Singapore (41%), Brazil (32%), Australia/New Zealand (26%), Japan (25%), US (22%), UK (20%) and France (8%).

The study showed that in UAE, men have a more positive view of AI at work than women, with 61% of men optimistic versus 55% of women.

“As this study shows, the relationship between humans and machines is being redefined at work, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to successfully managing this change. Instead, organisations need to partner with their HR to personalise the approach to implementing AI at work in order to meet the changing expectations of their teams around the world,” noted He.

The impact of AI at work is only just beginning and in order to take advantage of the latest advancements in AI, organisations need to focus on simplifying and securing AI at work or risk being left behind, she asserted.

"The research results reveal that forward-looking companies are already capitalising on the power of AI," noted Jeanne Meister, founding partner, Future Workplace.

“As workers and managers leverage the power of artificial intelligence in the workplace, they are moving from fear to enthusiasm as they see the possibility of being freed of many of their routine tasks and having more time to solve critical business problems for the enterprise.”

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