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UK employees want a legal requirement to protect workforce from bots

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New research from finds UK employees feel positive about working with artificial intelligence but believe training and regulation required.

A new study has revealed that overall UK employees anticipate a positive impact from artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. The study found that 64 percent of employees say they value AI.  However, the exact same percentage believe there should be a legal requirement for companies to maintain a minimum percentage of human workers and for relevant bodies to implement regulation around it.

These findings come from a UK-wide study exploring the relationship between employees and technology in the workplace. The research conducted by Genesys, found that while employees welcome new technological tools, a vast majority (86 percent) expect their employers to provide training for working with AI-based technologies, as less than half of all respondents say that they possess the right skills.

When asked whether they’d use augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) for job training, more than half (53 percent) of employees said they would be willing to do so. This finding is significantly higher than those who would be open to being trained by an AI-powered robot, with only just over a third (35 percent) of employees accepting this method.

 Millennials embrace AI-based technology at work.
The convergence between humans and technology is increasing, as reflected by the fact 41 percent of millennials say they spend at least half of their time at work interacting with machines and computers rather than humans. These findings suggest that when it comes to implementing new technologies, employers will need to find the right balance between technology and human workers.

When it comes to how employees expect to use new technologies, 58 percent would like to use a digital or virtual assistant to support them in managing tasks and meeting deadlines. 

This appetite for virtual assistants suggests that the widespread use of technologies like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri in workers’ personal lives is opening people’s minds to the possibilities that similar AI-driven assistants can bring to the workplace.

Additional UK findings include: Almost a quarter of workers believe AI will have a positive impact on their job in the next five years; 69 percent of employees say technology makes them more efficient at their jobs; 43 percent of employees say new technological tools in the workplace save time and allow them to focus on other things.

“Employees across the UK are ready to embrace new technologies in the workplace,” said Mark Armstrong, vice president for UK and Ireland at Genesys. “The research shows that UK workers understand the benefits of AI and are overwhelmingly positive about its potential impact. It is also evident that employees understand that businesses will need to leverage AI and other emerging technologies to maintain longevity, as only 21 percent believe their companies will remain competitive without it.”

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