AI appears to be gaining prominence in the workplace, with more people from our survey using some form of these technologies at work this year than last year. What’s more, HR practitioners, line managers, and direct reports are expressing greater enthusiasm and optimism about the technology than they have in the past.
For instance, when asked how they feel about having robots (such as chatbots) as coworkers, as many as 65% of this year’s survey respondents used words like “excited,” “optimistic,” and “grateful.” Additionally, 43% of managers, HR leaders, and employees said they’re excited about how AI will affect the future of work—a major jump from the 24% who answered this way in our 2018 study.
Clearly, people overall are feeling more comfortable with AI in the workplace and are better able to perceive and appreciate the technology’s potential. To illustrate, workers in this year’s study believe that AI can present them with important opportunities—including being able to master new skills (36%), to gain more free time (36%), and to expand their current role so it’s more strategic (28%).
If we slice the data by role, we see some interesting differences. Specifically, HR leaders are most optimistic (38%) about AI, followed by other managers (31%) and finally employees (19%). Plus, 70% of all respondents this year expressed at least moderate optimism about an HR future powered by AI.
Uncertainty about AI seems to be easing up. Only 24% of our 2019 respondents said they felt “unsure” about AI—down from 38% in 2018. Equally telling, 38% of this year’s survey participants used terms like “amazed” and “excited” when asked how they felt about the prospect of AI sounding more human.
The majority of respondents in India (60%) and China (56%) report being excited about AI, while in France and the UK, far fewer used the word “excited” to express their feelings about the technology (8% and 20%, respectively).
Millennials are most excited about AI (31%), followed by Generation Z (24%) and Generation X (22%), with baby boomers coming in last place (14%).
Overall, men are more excited (30%) and optimistic (32%) about AI than women are (21% excited, 23% optimistic).