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ANZ workers not as enthusiastic about AI as rest of the world



Tech

By Loren Webb

The second annual ‘AI at Work’ study conducted globally by Oracle and Future Workplace shoes just how much Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the relationship between people and technology at work in ANZ. 

The study of 8,370 employees, managers and HR leaders across 10 countries found that AI is reshaping the role HR teams and managers need to play in attracting, retaining and developing talent.

We perhaps have an underlying sense that there is an existing fear about implementing AI in the workplace, however this research actually shows that all around the world, employers are reporting increased adoption of AI at work.

How does ANZ compare with the rest of the world? 

  • Just a quarter (26 per cent) of ANZ workers are excited about AI, compared with workers in India (60 percent) and China (56 percent) who are the most excited. Workers in France are the least excited about AI (8 percent).
  • In ANZ, 57 percent of workers are currently using some form of AI in the workplace, compared to 77 percent in China, the leading adopter. This is also almost double to France, and Japan, where AI adoption is 32 and 29 percent respectively.
  • The majority (65 percent) of workers globally are optimistic, excited and grateful about having robot co-workers and nearly a quarter report having a gratifying relationship with AI at work. However, ANZ workers are not as enthusiastic, with only 1 in 3 (30 percent) optimistic about robot co-workers and 1 in 5 (20 percent) nervous about the prospect.
  • Men globally have a more positive view of AI at work than women with 47 percent of men excited vs. 30 percent of women.

Do employees 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 percent of people globally and 58 percent of workers in ANZ 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 percent) and China (88 percent) are more trusting of robots over their managers, followed by Singapore (83 percent), Brazil (78 percent), Japan (76 percent), UAE (74 percent), Australia/New Zealand (58 percent), U.S. (57 percent), UK (54 percent) and France (56 percent).
  • More men (62 percent) than women (53 percent) in ANZ have turned to AI over their managers.
  • 82 percent of people think robots can do things better than their managers, with problem solving (30 percent), providing unbiased information (31 percent), maintaining work schedules (31 percent) and managing a budget (21 percent) topping the list of tasks ANZ respondents believe a robot can do better.
  • When asked what managers can do better than robots, ANZ workers said the top three tasks were:
  • understanding their feelings (43 percent)
  • coaching them (33 percent)
  • creating a work culture (32 percent)
  • Only 16 percent believe their manager can do everything better than a robot.

“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,” says Emily He, SVP, Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group, Oracle.

“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, organizations need to partner with their HR organization to personalize the approach to implementing AI at work in order to meet the changing expectations of their teams around the world.”

AI is here to stay

The impact of AI at work is only just beginning. 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.

  • 92 percent of ANZ workers (and 96 percent of HR leaders) find it challenging to keep up with the pace of technological changes in the workplace.
  • Workers in ANZ want a simplified experience with AI at work, asking for a better user interface (34 percent), better practice training (35 percent) and an experience that is personalised to their behaviour (28 percent).
  • Privacy (34 percent) and security (38 percent) are the main concerns preventing workers from using AI at work.

“Our 2019 results reveal that forward looking companies are already capitalising on the power of AI,” said 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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