Workers trust AI more than human managers

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Workers place more trust in robots and AI than their managers according to the second annual AI at Work study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace.

To compile the study, the two firms surveyed 8,370 employees, managers and HR leaders across 10 countries to find that AI has changed the relationship between people and technology in the workplace and is reshaping the role HR teams and managers need to play when it comes to attracting, retaining and developing talent.

In contrast to common fears that AI and robots will take workers jobs, the AI at Work study found that employees, managers and HR leaders across the globe are reporting increased adoption of AI in the workplace and many are welcoming the emerging technology with enthusiasm.

AI is becoming more prominent in workplaces with 50 percent of workers currently using some form of AI at work compared to only 32 percent last year. Workers in China (77%) and India (78%) have adopted AI over two times more than those in France (32%) and Japan (29%). However, the study also found that men have a more positive view of AI in the workplace than women with 32 percent of male workers optimistic versus 23 percent of female workers.

Who to trust?

Increased adoption of AI at work is having a significant impact on the way employees interact with their managers and as a result, the traditional role of HR teams and managers is shifting.

Of those surveyed, 64 percent said they would trust a robot more than their manager and half have even turned to a robot instead of their manager for advice. Workers in India (89%) and China (88%) are the most trusting of robots over their managers, followed by Singapore (83%), Brazil (78%), Japan (76%), the UAE (74%), the US (57%), the UK (54%) and France (56%). Once again though, more men (56%) than women (44%) have turned to AI over their managers.

When asked what robots and AI can do better than their managers, respondents said robots are better at providing unbiased information (26%), maintaining work schedules (34%), problem solving (29%) and managing a budget (26%). However, workers said that managers are still better at understanding their feelings, coaching them and creating a work culture.

SVP of the human capital management cloud business group at Oracle, Emily He explained why organizations should work with their HR departments when implementing AI at work, saying:

“The latest advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are rapidly reaching mainstream, resulting in a massive shift in the way people across the world interact with technology and their teams. As this study shows, the relationship between humans and machines is being redefined at work, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to successfully managing this change. Instead, organizations need to partner with their HR organization to personalize the approach to implementing AI at work in order to meet the changing expectations of their teams around the world.” 

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.