Survey Reveals Workers vs. Leaders Optimism and Concerns Toward AI

According to a recent survey by Boston Consulting Group, office workers demonstrate a greater sense of optimism rather than worry when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI). The study aimed to assess the attitudes of leaders, managers, and employees toward AI technology, involving a substantial sample size of approximately 13,000 individuals.

Findings from the survey indicate that optimism and curiosity rank in the list of the top five emotions associated with AI for approximately 52 percent and 61 percent of respondents, respectively. In contrast, only 30 percent listed "concern" as one of their primary sentiments. Since 2018, there was a significant change when only 35 percent expressed optimism, while 40 percent expressed concern. However, curiosity remained relatively consistent during both time periods.

Steve Mills, who holds multiple key positions at Boston Consulting Group including Partner, Managing Director, and Chief AI Ethics Officer, expressed his astonishment at the level of optimism uncovered by the survey. While recognizing the legitimate risks linked to AI, Mills observed that the findings showcased a greater sense of optimism among workers than what was originally anticipated.

The survey aligns with a period of increased interest from businesses looking to leverage the latest advancements in language-generating AI. Companies like Wendy's and WPP have enthusiastically adopted AI technology, sparking the attention and participation of many other organizations. The survey findings indicated that slightly more than 25 percent of participants reported utilizing generative AI on a regular basis, while 46 percent confirmed that they had at least tried it once.

Notably, the survey revealed a link between individuals' firsthand encounters with generative AI and a rise in optimism, accompanied by a decrease in apprehension regarding its effects. Mills credited this shift in attitude to the growing level of familiarity people have acquired with the latest advancements in AI tools and technologies.

Differences in the level of concern regarding AI were apparent depending on the hierarchical position within companies. Leaders and managers displayed less worry compared to employees, with 22 percent and 28 percent expressing concern, respectively. In contrast, a higher percentage of leaders (62 percent) and managers (54 percent) showcased optimism towards AI, whereas only 42 percent of employees shared the same sentiment.

Nevertheless, the survey brought attention to a feeling of discomfort among employees concerning the way their organizations are incorporating AI. Merely 29 percent of participants felt that their organizations had put in place appropriate protocols to guarantee the ethical utilization of AI. In contrast, 68 percent of leaders expressed assurance in their organizations' approach to AI implementation.

Moreover, a significant majority of respondents, comprising 79 percent, voiced the opinion that the implementation of regulations for AI is crucial. This viewpoint corresponds with the ongoing discourse regarding the necessity of governmental intervention and the formulation of guidelines to govern AI technology. Prominent figures and experts in the industry have progressively advocated for more stringent regulations to mitigate the potential risks linked to AI.

Approximately 36 percent of the survey participants expressed apprehension about the possibility of their jobs being rendered obsolete due to the progress of AI. Moreover, a substantial 86 percent of respondents recognized the necessity of acquiring new skills to navigate the evolving employment landscape resulting from the integration of AI technology.

Mills emphasized the importance of the survey results in reminding leaders within organizations that their employees might not share the same level of optimism towards AI as those in higher-level positions. This insight should be considered when implementing AI initiatives and managing organizational change.

The survey outcomes provide valuable insights into the perceptions and attitudes of workers toward AI technology. As AI continues to evolve and permeate various industries, understanding and addressing employees' concerns will play a vital role in successfully integrating AI within organizations.

Read next: Ranking The Year 2023's Most Innovative Organizations Till Date
Previous Post Next Post