REDWOOD SHORES: People have more trust in robots than their managers, according to the second annual AI at Work study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace, a research firm.

The study of 8,370 employees, managers and HR leaders across 10 countries, found that AI has changed the relationship between people and technology at work and is reshaping the role HR teams and managers need to play in attracting, retaining and developing talent.

AI is changing the relationship between people and technology at work

Contrary to common fears around how AI will impact jobs, employees, managers and HR leaders across the globe are reporting increased adoption of AI at work and many are welcoming AI with love and optimism.

AI is becoming more prominent with 50 per cent of workers currently using some form of AI at work compared to only 32 per cent last year. Workers in China (77 per cent) and India (78 per cent) have adopted AI over 2X more than those in France (32 per cent) and Japan (29 per cent).

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

Workers in India (60 per cent) and China (56 per cent) are the most excited about AI, followed by the UAE (44 per cent), Singapore (41 per cent), Brazil (32 per cent), Australia/New Zealand (26 per cent), Japan (25 per cent), U.S. (22 per cent), UK (20 per cent), and France (8 per cent).

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Men have a more positive view of AI at work than women with 32 per cent of men optimistic vs. 23 per cent of women.

Workers trust robots more than their managers

The increasing adoption of AI at work is having a significant impact on the way employees interact with their managers. As a result, the traditional role of HR teams and the manager is shifting.

64 per cent 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 per cent) and China (88 per cent) are more trusting of robots over their managers, followed by Singapore (83 per cent), Brazil (78%), Japan (76 per cent), UAE (74 per cent), Australia/New Zealand (58 per cent), U.S. (57 per cent), UK (54 per cent) and France (56 per cent).

More men (56 per cent) than women (44 per cent) have turned to AI over their managers.

82% of people think robots can do things better than their managers.

When asked what robots can do better than their managers, survey respondents said robots are better at providing unbiased information (26 per cent), maintaining work schedules (34 per cent), problem solving (29 per cent) and managing a budget (26 per cent).

When asked what managers can do better than robots, workers said the top three tasks were understanding their feelings (45 per cent), coaching them (33 per cent) and creating a work culture (29 per cent).

AI is here to stay: Organizations need to simplify and secure AI to stay competitive

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

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76 per cent of workers (and 81 per cent of HR leaders) find it challenging to keep up with the pace of technological changes in the workplace.

Workers want a simplified experience with AI at work, asking for a better user interface (34 per cent), best practice training (30 per cent) and an experience that is personalized to their behavior (30 per cent).

Security (31 per cent) and privacy (30 per cent) are the main concerns preventing workers from using AI at work.

Digital natives Gen Z (43 per cent) and Millennials (45 per cent) are more concerned about privacy and security at work than Gen X (29 per cent) and Baby Boomers (23 per cent).

Shaakun Khanna, Head of HCM Applications, Asia Pacific, Oracle, said in a statement, “The study shows that the equation between people and technology is being re-written and the organizations need to work closely with their HR teams to meet the changing expectations of people. The study also highlights another aspect that with technology taking care of transactional activities, leaders and managers need to bring more strategic value to management and use more of their soft skills with people. If managers want to survive the challenge of AI, they must embrace EI.”

Emily He, SVP, Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group, Oracle, said in a statement, “The latest advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are rapidly reaching mainstream, resulting in a massive shift in the way people across the world interact with technology and their teams.”

Research findings are based on a global survey conducted by Savanta between July 2 to August 9, 2019. The study was administered online and fielded in 10 different countries (and in six languages). Permanent full-time employees between the ages 18 – 74 years old were eligible to participate. The survey targeted HR Leaders, Managers and Employees.

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