93% of employees would trust orders from a robot, finds a study

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Six per cent of HR professionals are actively deploying AI and 24 per cent of employees are currently using some form of AI at work.

In a changing world, where technology is increasingly pervading human life, a study reveals that people don’t hesitate to take instructions from robots at work. The study was conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace, a research firm preparing leaders for disruptions in recruitment, development and employee engagement. The research involving 1,320 HR leaders and employees in the US, revealed that even as people are ready to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) at work, and understand that the benefits go far beyond automating manual processes, organisations are still lagging behind when it comes to embracing AI. This will result in reduced productivity, skillset obsolescence and job loss.

The study titled, ‘AI at Work’, also identified a large gap between the way people are using AI at home and at work. According to the study, 70 per cent of people are using some form of AI in their personal life, while only six per cent of HR professionals are actively deploying AI and 24 per cent of employees are currently using some form of AI at work. The study tried to find the obstacles preventing AI adoption and the business consequences of not embracing AI even when people are ready to embrace AI at work (93 per cent were found to trust orders from a robot). Majority of the respondents agreed that AI will have a positive impact on their organisations. When asked about the biggest benefit of AI, HR leaders and employees both felt it was increased productivity.

According to the study, most employees believe that AI will improve operational efficiencies (59 per cent), enable faster decision making (50 per cent), significantly reduce cost (45 per cent), enhance customer experiences (40 per cent) and improve the employee experience (37 per cent). Leaders in the HR industry believe AI will positively impact learning and development (27 per cent), performance management (26 per cent), compensation/payroll (18 per cent) and recruitment and employee benefits (13 per cent).

Given the fact that AI has huge potential to improve business performance, HR leaders and employees believe that organisations are not doing enough to prepare the workforce for AI. Respondents also identified a number of other barriers holding back AI in the enterprise.

Almost (90 per cent) of HR leaders are worried about adjusting to the rapid adoption of AI as part of their job and find it might make matters worse, as most are not currently empowered to address an emerging AI skill gap in their organisation. While more than half of the employees (51 per cent) are concerned they will not be able to adjust to the rapid adoption of AI and 71 per cent believe AI skills and knowledge will be important in the next three years, 72 per cent of HR leaders noted that their organisation does not provide any form of AI training programme. In addition to the skill gap, HR leaders and employees identified cost (74 per cent), failure of technology (69 per cent) and security risks (56 per cent) as the other major barriers to AI adoption in the enterprise.

Despite concerns of people regarding AI entering the workplace, the study found the opposite to be true with HR leaders and employees (79 per cent of HR leaders; 60 per cent of employees) believing that failure to adopt AI will have negative consequences for their own careers, colleagues and the organisation on the whole.

From an organisational standpoint, respondents believe embracing AI will have the most positive impact on directors and C-Suite executives. By failing to empower leadership teams with AI, organisations could lose competitive advantage.

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