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We want more (AI in the workplace)

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

As part of a new Snaplogic study, 81% of employees have said artificial intelligence (AI) helps improve their job performance, and they want more. And there was me thinking people feared the machines taking over. Perhaps man and machine can live in harmony after all.

As a result of apparent improvements to productivity and decision making, more than two thirds of employees (68%) are calling on their employers to deploy more AI-based technology to help them execute their daily work better and faster.

According to IDC, global spending on AI technologies reached $50.1 billion in 2020, a figure that is expected to double in the next four years.

So, it’s no surprise that AI is transforming the workplace as a result. But while employees were initially sceptical of this technology, new data suggests perception is shifting.

This new study, conducted across the US and UK, sought to understand how workers across various lines of business – from HR to finance to marketing, and more – feel about working with AI technologies today. 

Currently, more than half (56%) of office workers say they are using AI as a part of their daily job responsibilities.

The research indicates that the potential for AI’s impact is much broader, however, as 89% believe AI could support them in up to half of their everyday work activities.

Where do employees believe AI can assist them the most? The top three tasks identified all involved moving, accessing, or analysing data.

These were, in order: understanding data and how trends and patterns can aid decision making; moving data from one place to another; and accessing data residing in different places across the business. 

When asked about the benefits of AI in the workplace, 61% said it helped them have a more efficient and productive workday.

Additionally, almost half (49%) felt that it improved their decision making and accelerated time-to-insights. What’s more, just over half (51%) believe that AI in the workplace helps them achieve a better work/life balance due to the aforementioned productivity boost.

“In recent years, there was concern among office workers that AI would drive job losses, but employee opinions seem to have changed,” said Craig Stewart, CTO at SnapLogic.

“The more they’ve been exposed to AI and see it in action, the more they’ve realised how much it can assist them with their daily work.

“As AI is increasingly used to make better decisions and rack up productivity gains, they’ve gone from tentatively accepting to fully embracing AI. The fact that they are now calling on their leaders to accelerate AI technology adoption in the enterprise is a real sea-change.”

The research also took a look at the growing market for personal AI applications versus those used at work.

The workplace appears to be the proving ground for the use of AI, with 45% downloading AI-driven apps for their use at work, compared with just 26% who had downloaded AI-driven apps for personal use.

As employees get comfortable with AI at work, perhaps they will more fully embrace it at home as well, closing the current gap.

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