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UK employees embrace AI, but need more training: study

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Employees across UK retail are, on the whole, positive about the impact of AI (artificial intelligence) on their jobs, with 59% saying they don’t feel threatened.

The findings from a new survey by Genesys reveal an overwhelmingly positive outlook from employees, despite the negative headlines anticipating such technologies would replace humans in the workplace.

More than two-thirds of employees say they don’t feel threatened by technology at work and that they don’t expect the technology to become a threat anytime soon either, given that 59% don’t believe AI or bots will take their jobs within the next ten years. In fact, employees see AI as pivotal to business success with more than a fifth saying they believe AI or bots will be crucial to their companies ability to stay competitive in the future. 

“It’s encouraging that UK’s workers recognise the potential new technologies such as AI have to make their jobs more fulfilling and the value it can bring to businesses,” says Steve Leeson, Vice President for UK and Ireland for Genesys. 

Even while the survey shows that people are more excited about AI technology than fearful, in the long-term they want assurances from their employers in the form of training. The research showed an overwhelming majority (86%) of employees expect their employers to provide training that helps them prepare for an AI-enabled workplace. 

Leeson comments: “Some jobs will evolve as human work combines with the capabilities of AI.  It’s increasingly important for companies to assess the need for training programs to help employees further skills like creativity, leadership and empathy, which AI just can’t replace. Businesses that adopt a blended approach to artificial intelligence, where AI-technologies work in unison with employees, will get the best out of their technology investment and their skilled workforce.”

The study also finds that a fifth of employees say they are already working with AI, while only 16% of employees report a negative experience of new technological tools in the workplace.

However, 64% of employees believe there should be a requirement that companies maintain a minimum percentage of human employees versus AI-powered robots and machinery, while 41% of millennials say they spend fifty per cent or more of their time interacting with  machines and computers rather than humans.

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