The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution is coming, but most workers are not afraid that it will lead to job losses, according to a Monday report from HPE and Aruba. Some 71% of employees said they would welcome a fully-automated workplace, as it would allow organizations to build smarter, more effective working environments.
"While automation is often discussed in terms of what it might do in the medium to long-term future, our research is a reminder that there are tangible benefits to be unlocked through the automation of equipment and the office environment today," the report stated. "It found both that the vast majority of employees are enthusiastic about this prospect, and that they are willing to make trade-offs such as personal data for personalized tools."
Employees also expressed enthusiasm for other digital workplace technologies: 71% of employees said that biometric data should replace passwords, the report found. And 61% said that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) should play a stronger role in the workplace.
SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
Virtually all employees (93%) said that increased use of digital technology will lead to improvements in the workplace. Many reported that they believe that with these technologies, the future workplace will be more efficient (56%), more collaborative (52%), and a more appealing work environment in general (47%). And despite privacy concerns, a majority (57%) of employees said they would be happy to share more personalized data in return for more personalized tools and experiences.
The report separated respondents into two categories: Digital revolutionaries (who work in organizations where digital workplace technologies are widely used) and digital laggards (who work in organizations that lack digital tools). The revolutionaries were 51% more likely to report strong job satisfaction, 60% more likely to say they are motivated at work, and 91% more likely to praise their company's vision than their laggard counterparts, the report found.
Digital workplaces are also beneficial for professional development, according to the report: 65% of revolutionaries said they had seen professional growth through the use of digital technology, compared to 31% of laggards.
However, all employees still lag behind when it comes to cybersecurity, the report found. Some 70% of workers surveyed said they had performed some kind of risky online behavior in the past year, such as sharing or duplicating their password, copying files onto a personal device, or connecting to an unknown network. This proved to be the case despite the fact that 92% of employees said they were aware of the potential impact of a company data breach.
With employee enthusiasm for automation and digital technologies in the workplace, IT departments should do the following to prepare the workplace for these trends, the report recommended:
1. Invest in programmable and open systems. Core infrastructure that is programmable and open will support digital workplace innovation and automation into the future.
2. Partner with lines-of-business early and often. Groups outside of IT may champion the next digital workplace use case requirements. Getting to know other stakeholders early on brings IT into the initial design and strategy discussions.
3. Invest in tools that are data and analytics ready. The network, with its potential for secure connectivity along with location and identity context, is the central nervous system for the digital workplace. IT teams can try to pair the network with other systems rich in data APIs to create new employee experiences.
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- 71% of employees say they would welcome a fully-automated workplace. — HPE/Aruba, 2018
- 93% of employees said that increased use of digital technology will lead to improvements in the workplace. — HPE/Aruba, 2018
- Special report: How to implement AI and machine learning (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- No, AI won't eat your job, say tech chiefs, and here's why (ZDNet)
- Cheat sheet: How to become a data scientist (TechRepublic)
- Five tech jobs that AI and automation will make radically more efficient (ZDNet)
- Demand for AI talent exploding: Here are the 10 most in-demand jobs (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.