Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing 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.
According to the second annual “AI at Work” study on 8,370 employees, managers and HR leaders across 10 countries, conducted by Oracle and research firm Future Workplace, showed that 72% of UAE respondents are either excited or optimistic about having robot co-workers.
Emily He, senior vice-president for Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group, Oracle, said at the Oracle OpenWorld Middle East: Dubai 2020, said that the increasing adoption of AI at work is having a significant impact on the way employees collaborate at the workplace and they are ready to welcome AI-colleagues with open arms.
“52% of UAE respondents said that AI has had a positive impact on their relationship with other employees, while 36% said engagement with their manager improved due to the introduction of AI at the workplace,” she said.
She added that people are no longer afraid of the robots as they have experienced how AI and machine learning can improve the way they work in a very pragmatic way.
“And the more they use these technologies, the more excited they are about them,” she said.
“Baby Boomers (50%) and millennials (47%) expressed more willingness to have robot co-workers as compared to Gen Z digital natives (41%). UAE workers would like to delegate mundane tasks like creating expense reports, calculating employee benefits, writing paychecks and managing vacation requests to AI-enabled robots,” she said.
Moreover, she said that 12% of UAE respondents would also like AI to deliver career coaching, while 7% are comfortable allowing AI to conduct job interviews.
“Rate of adoption of AI is dramatically increasing.”
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Opportunity to acquire new skills
According to the first annual study, she said that 32% of the people were using some form of AI in the workplace but this year, it has increased to 50% globally and in the UAE, it has increased to 62%.
Furthermore, He said that UAE 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 organization.
When asked what new opportunities they think will be created through using AI, the study showed that 43% of UAE respondents chose to learn new skills while 38% followed that up with opportunities to expand their role to be more strategic.
In the UAE, 27% of respondents also felt that AI can help them drive better organisational change and have a better and healthier work relationship while 26% of workers believe that AI will help them achieve faster promotions and 18% hoped to secure a higher salary.
“UAE 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, and are looking at the technology to create a positive impact on their professional and personal relationships,” she said.
The study showed that 64% of people would trust a robot more than their manager and half have turned to a robot instead of their manager for advice while 82% of people think robots can do things better than their managers.
She said that workers in the UAE (62%), China (77%) and India (78%) have adopted AI twofold more than those in France (32%) and Japan (29 %).
“Men have a more positive view of AI at work than women in the UAE with 61% of men optimistic versus 55% of women.
Organisations urged to take advantage of AI
When asked what robots can do better than their managers, UAE survey respondents said robots are better at maintaining work schedules (42%), problem-solving (34%) and providing unbiased information (32%).
When asked what managers can do better than robots, UAE workers said the top three tasks were understanding their feelings (46%), coaching them (32%) and evaluate team performance (25%).
“The latest advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are rapidly reaching the mainstream, resulting in a massive shift in the way people across the world interact with technology and their teams,” she said.
However, she said that organisations need to partner with their HR organisation to personalise the approach to implementing AI at work in order to meet the changing expectations of their teams around the world.
“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 said.