Two-thirds of office workers think their jobs will never be replaced by AI

Adobe's new Future of Work report explored how professionals think about changes to the workplace due to artificial intelligence and other technologies.

Video: How AI and automation are replacing less-routine work At the MIT CIO Symposium in Cambridge, MA, TechRepublic caught up with Andrew McAfee, co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, about what automation can, and can't, accomplish.

Today's office workers are confident that they will not be replaced by robots, according to Adobe's The Future of Work report, released on Tuesday. In a survey of more than 4,000 office workers from the US, the UK, and Germany, two-thirds of professionals said they think that their job requires human abilities that technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) will never be able to replace.

In fact, the majority of professionals said they wanted to use AI in the workplace, the report found. However, they also said they prefer using the technology for simple tasks such as scheduling appointments, research, and searching through documents, rather than complex ones, such as feedback on work or networking.

US workers predicted that 63% of menial office tasks will be completed by technology in the next 20 years. In terms of technology's current role in the workplace, the majority of workers said that technology enables productivity, collaboration, and a better work/life balance, the report found. But even in a technology-rich workplace, a majority of respondents said that face-to-face contact was important for success on the job.

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Some 87% of workers do expect that their jobs will change in the next five years, the report found. And less than one-third of respondents said they felt "very equipped to succeed" with technology and technical skills that will be needed in the workplaces of the future--not surprising, given the current tech talent gap.

Only 3% of US office workers predict that their jobs won't exist in the next five years, compared to 4% of UK workers and 1% of German workers. The majority of current professionals said they believe the most successful workers of the future will be skilled at collaborating, and will be able to specialize across a variety of tasks, rather than in just one area.

A recent study from University of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, the AI Impacts Project, and the Machine Intelligence Research Institute predicted only a 50% chance that machines will replace all human jobs in 120 years. While AI is likely to replace certain menial tasks, it is also likely to create new jobs: Recent research from the IDC predicts that AI will create 823,734 jobs by 2021.

Image: iStockphoto/ktsimage

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. Two-thirds of office workers said they their think job requires human abilities that technologies such as artificial intelligence will never be able to replace, according to a new report from Adobe.

2. Some 87% of workers said they expect that their jobs will change in the next five years, and feel they do not have sufficient technology skills to complete the new requirements.

3. Studies show that while AI is likely to replace certain jobs, it will also create new positions.

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