Freddie Achom on the rise and rise of AI

Freddie Achom - Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to creep into everyday life. From at-home systems like Amazon’s Alexa responding to your needs and ‘learning’ as you go, to AI chat windows springing up on e-commerce websites, you may not even notice its prevalence.

Another use for AI fast becoming popular is in the office. In fact, two-thirds of office workers in the UK have said that they want to use AI tech at work as their own personal assistant.

Sharing everyday work with AI

Adobe carried out research that shows AI technology is seen by many office workers as a way to share the bulk of everyday tasks. This could then free them up to carry out more creative tasks, or simply increase their work output.

Around 2,000 full and part time office workers across the UK were surveyed by Adobe, and the results could surprise many. It’s often assumed that people feel threatened by AI and fear it could take over their future career. However, 68% say the opposite.

Far from worrying about the fast growth of advanced technology, they want to embrace it as part of their role. The over-riding feeling is that human beings bring certain qualities and abilities to their jobs that cannot ever be replaced by technology.

Technology as positivity

Most office professionals see technology in their space as a positive. More than 86% report that it improves their working day. More than 85% say that advanced technology such as AI boost their productivity, and 78% point out that it aids communication between co-workers.

The tasks that people actively want AI to help with include the following:

  • Reminders of appointments/project deadlines (46%).
  • Assistance with research on specific topics (36%).
  • Assistance with electronic searches for relevant information (30%).

These are basic administrative tasks, and people have shown much less enthusiasm when it comes to strategic tasks. Respondents to the survey said that:

  • Just 16% want to use AI for creative solutions or writing content.
  • 16% want AI to give feedback on tone or style of writing emails or other documents.
  • Only 10% want suggestions from AI on how to network and communicate.

Open to embracing change

The research shows that office workers in the UK appear open to embracing AI and other advanced technology. They are clear that AI and technology makes their working lives easier, so they can be more innovative and creative. This is perhaps surprising, given the often sensationalist media reports of the negative affect AI and other accompanying technology supposedly plays in our lives.

Working with a technological future

Further stats from the report show that UK office workers are prepared for the fact that around 60% of admin office tasks will be completed by technology over the next two decades. Because of these changes, most (87%) assume that their job roles will change over the next five years.

However, due to the uncertainty around exactly how technology like AI will affect peoples’ jobs, only 19% feel that they are ‘very equipped’ to adapt to it. So, while people are evidently open to change, they do want to be confident in using new technologies.

More must be done within businesses of all sizes to ensure that employees have the necessary skills and understanding of technology that they will have to deal with every day. It’s good to see that there is a general feeling that human beings will always be needed in offices, and it’s clear that finding a way for people and tech to work harmoniously together should be our focus.

Freddie Achom 

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