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9 in 10 look forward to managing AI robot co-workers

73% of senior executives expect AI to improve efficiency.

By Sabrina Dougall

As artificial intelligence and robotic process automation (RPA) steadily improves, AI robot co-workers are not so far away from becoming a reality. Despite scaremongering that AI will precipitate sudden mass redundancies, recent research has found staff are looking forward to smart tech ‘colleagues’.

A notable 88% of respondents would be comfortable with the prospect of working alongside intelligent machines, while a further 91% are comfortable with the prospect of managing them. Positivity remains high around smart machines’ future capabilities, with 73% expecting it to improve efficiency and almost two-thirds (62%) anticipating a boost in customer experience (CX).

By comparison, more than three-quarters (79%) expect RPA to deliver significant efficiency improvements and 59% expect its ability to relieve mundane data input will enhance CX.

artificial intelligence

Switch the power, however, and feelings towards the tech change dramatically. A significant four in five would not be happy with an AI managing them at work. Yet 78% percent claim they would feel more comfortable with the prospect of being managed by an intelligent machine if there was complete transparency and auditability as to how it reached its decisions

Artificial intelligence is set to drastically alter staff makeup and task management too. Many believe it will become standard practice to deploy AI for a wide range of management functions within five years. For instance, 72% think the increasing use of AI and robotics will dramatically reduce the number of middle managers in most organisations over the next ten years.

Talent acquisition could see significant shake-up too; more than seven out of ten (71%) believe the use of AI in CV evaluation to create candidate shortlists will be the norm by 2023.

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Most (91%) believe that advanced analytics will create new chances to find commercial opportunities for collaboration between teams or organisations within 10 years, while 57% percent think this will happen within five years.

Operational strategy may also increasingly fall to smart machines – 71% believe AI will be commonly used to identify opportunities for operational improvements within the next five years.

Technophobes should rest easy, however, as sophisticated robot colleagues are likely some decades away. While 39% of respondents expect to see widespread use of humanoid robots in the next ten years, this leaps to 72% by 2037 – yet only time will tell what inventors and entrepreneurs can bring to market.

In autumn 2017, Marketforce surveyed 845 senior executives working globally in a range of sectors on behalf of Pega.

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