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Professionals Are Open to Working with AI: Survey

By Meeta Ramnani - July 18, 2019 4 Mins Read

While there are talks about AI replacing workforce, a recent report from Pega and Marketforce reveals that over 70% of employees are open to working with these technologies

Humans have started to acclimatize to the hybrid workplace. Survey shows that seven out of ten senior executives expect the term ‘workforce’ to encapsulate human employees as well as intelligent machines. According to ‘The Future of Work’ report from Pega and Marketforce, that surveyed 845 senior executives working globally, 88% of professionals are comfortable with the idea of working alongside intelligent machines, but do not want to be managed by AI.

The findings of the survey, that included 845 senior executives from industries including technology, financial services, manufacturing, telecoms & media, healthcare & life sciences, transport & logistics, and retail, suggest that AI and automation could have a positive impact on the way we work.

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Rather than fearing the use of increased automation in the workplace, the findings suggest that employees will welcome the opportunity as it allows them to get off routine or repetitive tasks. Experts suggest that with AI and automation, humans will surely find the workplace enhanced as monotonous tasks will be replaced with more challenging and varied work. A smooth transition to an AI-enhanced workplace involves the whole teams where the frontline staff can best identify the tasks that are suited to automation.

Experts believe that automation and AI are surely coming, since the cost savings are too compelling for companies to ignore. Various studies by the London School of Economics have suggested how RPA can deliver a potential RoI between 30% and 200% in just one year. A Deloitte report also found that 74% of companies plan to investigate RPA.

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As far as the fear of losing jobs by the workforce is concerned, experts believe that though some might really be affected by it, but the impact of automation depends on the type of role that the organisation chooses to automate. There are some jobs that require nuanced judgment, emotional intelligence, and cultural understanding that machines just can’t replace. The survey also suggests that 70% of professionals expect AI to principally replace human workers in admin roles within a 20-year period, but 41%, expect the same fate for human workers in customer-facing roles.

The advent of automation also may not mean that humans need to displace from the workforce, rather they are diverted to other areas of the business. Almost 70% of the surveyed executives expect that automating processes that now require manual completion will make a significant difference in enabling staff to perform much more varied roles. This is good for the organization as well as the employee who may find their new duties more stimulating.

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In fact, 64% of the respondents believe that AI will enable the staff to find solutions to problems that previously were referred up the chain of command. Moreover, 77% of executives even said that within the next five years, using AI to suggest next-best-actions to customer service agents would become a standard practice.

By relieving staff of repetitive manual processes such as data inputting, 79% expect RPA to deliver significant efficiency improvements and 59% expect to RPA to lead to an enhanced customer experience.

Automation gained a bad name as it took an unforgiving toll on blue-collar jobs, between 2000 and 2010, where around 5.6 million manufacturing jobs were shed in the US, where 85% of them were as a result of automation and technological change. But in the digital era, the report suggest that support from artificial intelligence will allow workers to make informed decisions at a more junior level, leading to more unilateral traditional hierarchies.

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Meeta Ramnani

Meeta Ramnani is the Senior Editor with OnDot Media. She writes about technologies including AI, IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Blockchain across various industries with a focus on Digital Transformation. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries four years of experience in mainstream print media where she worked as a correspondent with The Times Group and Sakal Media Group in Pune.

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