CXO

Here's why AI-powered robot managers might work at your office

93% of employees said they would take instructions from a robot, but re-skilling remains an issue for implementation, according to an Oracle and Future Workplace report.

Employees may be more ready for the artificial intelligence (AI) apocalypse than expected, according to a recent report from Oracle and Future Workplace. The vast majority of the 1,320 HR leaders and employees surveyed—93%—said they were ready to take instructions from robots at work, due in large part to their growing use of the technology at home.

Some 70% of people surveyed reported using some form of AI in their personal life. However, only 6% of HR professionals said they are actively deploying AI at work, and only 24% of employees said they are using some form of the technology in the workplace, the report found.

Employees and HR leaders see the potential of AI, with all respondents agreeing that the technology will have a positive impact on their organizations, with the largest benefit named as increased productivity.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

Employees also said they believe that in the next three years, AI will improve operational efficiencies (59%), enable faster decision making (50%), significantly reduce cost (45%), enable better customer experiences (40%) and improve the employee experience (37%).

HR leaders, meanwhile, said they believe AI will positively impact learning and development (27%), performance management (26%), compensation/payroll (18%) and recruiting and employee benefits (13%).

Despite this belief in AI's potential to positively impact businesses, organizations are not doing enough to prepare the workforce for the rise of AI, according to the report.

Some 90% of HR leaders said they were concerned that they will not be able to adjust to the rapid adoption of AI as part of their job, and that they are not empowered to address the emerging AI skills gap in their company.

Nearly three-quarters of HR leaders—72%—said their organization does not provide any form of AI training, the report found. Other top barriers to AI adoption in the enterprise include cost (74%), failure of technology (69%), and security risks (56%), according to the respondents.

While many reports have warned of massive job losses due to automation, this report found that 79% of HR leaders and 60% of employees said they believed a failure to adopt AI will have negative consequences on their careers, colleagues, and overall organization, including reduced productivity, skills obsolescence, and job loss.

Embracing AI could have the most positive impact on directors and C-suite executives, respondents said. A lack of leadership around AI could lead companies to lose their competitive edge as automation increasingly enters the workforce.

"If organizations want to take advantage of the AI revolution, while closing the skills gap, they will have to invest in AI training programs," Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace, said in a press release. "If employees want to stay relevant to the current and future job market, they need to embrace AI as part of their job."

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • 93% of employees and HR leaders said they are ready to take instructions from robots at work. — Oracle and Future Workplace, 2018
  • Top barriers to AI adoption in the enterprise include cost (74%), failure of technology (69%), and security risks (56%). — Oracle and Future Workplace, 2018

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Image: iStockphoto/YakobchukOlena

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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