Aussie Workers Not Convinced About The Benefits Of AI
While there’s no denying that artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more commonplace in all aspects of life, it appear that many Australians have yet to welcome the concept with open arms. In addition, there’s a marked disconnection between how senior management, workers and consumers view the impact of how robotics will influence our world in the near future.
A recent report published by global professional services company, Genpact*, has not only revealed that Aussie workers have more scepticism towards the benefits of robotics than those elsewhere in the world, but that a drive to change the way AI is perceived by the majority has not yet begun to have a dramatic effect.
Management vs. consumers
On a global scale, Australians are the most cynical about how the integration of AI within the work and marketplace will benefit them. 31% feel that such technology threatens jobs (as opposed to 28% worldwide), and only 24% think robotics might create a new realm of career opportunities (36% globally). When it comes to consumer perception, only 43% of the population consider that AI is enhancing lives (53% worldwide).
But by far the most dramatic difference is between senior executives, workers and the end consumer. At management level 85% are convinced that the workforce will be comfortable working with AI by the end of 2021, whereas the reality in workers questioned is much lower, at only 48%. The rift between execs and consumers is even wider, with 88% believing that their customers will accept being served by a bot over a call-centre agent as opposed to the reality, which is a mere 7%.
Public concern over the future of AI
The bias against the integration of AI within everyday life and the workplace appears to be based around fear of the unknown. Worries about data breaches, job security and the impact on future generations are some of the main concerns raised by those surveyed. These concerns are greater amongst the Australian community than around the world and highlights a very real need for further education and training to target lack of knowledge and mis-information.
The report shows that Australians aren’t against AI, with 56% stating that how they view the technology would be more positive if they had greater understanding. 77% say that they’d be happy to learn new skills that would allow them to utilise AI in the workplace.
The sticking point seems to be that companies are failing to address the issue with adequate training. While 62% of senior executives say that such reskilling is on offer, the reality for workers is that only 30% say they’re aware of such training being available. The uptake of this training is even less, with only 19% saying they’ve actually taken advantage of it.
The results are, however, not all negative. 84% of those surveyed feel that it’s vital for companies bridge this divide but while steps are being taken at management level this is yet to filter down the ranks. This is something that certainly needs to be addressed if Australia is to fully take advantage of the ever-increasing technology on offer.
Certainly it would appear that the most pressing goal for companies in the immediate future is to ensure such training opportunities and to provide more wide-spread education about the use of AI to both their workers and consumers.
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