UAE workers more welcoming towards AI robots in workplace

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Sentiments regarding the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace have grown warmer across the UAE, with a large number of workers saying that they are looking forward to working with AI-enabled robots, a new survey has found.

According to the second annual AI at Work study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace, 72 per cent of UAE respondents are either 'excited' or 'optimistic' about having robot co-workers. It was found that UAE workers would like to delegate mundane tasks like creating expense reports, calculating employee benefits, writing pay checks, and managing vacation requests to AI-enabled robots. In addition, 12 per cent of UAE respondents would also like AI to deliver career coaching, while seven per cent are comfortable allowing AI to conduct job interviews.

"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. 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 organisation to personalise the approach to implementing AI at work in order to meet the changing expectations of their teams around the world," said Emily He, SVP of Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group, Oracle.

The results of the survey also showed that 27 per cent of respondents felt that AI can help them drive better organisational change and have a better and healthier work relationship. Around 40 per cent of UAE workers believed that they would have more free time to pursue other interests; while 26 per cent believed that AI will help them achieve faster promotions. Interestingly, 18 per cent hoped to secure a higher salary through AI. More than 50 per cent of UAE respondents said that AI has had a positive impact on their relationship with other employees, while 36 per cent said that their engagement with their manager improved due to the introduction of AI at the workplace.

However, Emily He also noted that many workers still had concerns about the use of AI, especially when it comes to privacy and security. At 41 per cent, digital natives Gen Z, and millennials at 45 per cent are more concerned about privacy and security at work, compared to 33 percent of Gen X. It was also found that men have a more positive view of AI at work than women in the UAE, with 61 per cent of men saying that they are optimistic compared to 55 per cent of women.

"Our 2019 results reveal that forward looking companies are already capitalising on the power of AI," said Jeanne Meister Founding Partner, Future Workplace. "As workers and managers leverage the power of artificial intelligence in the workplace, they are moving from fear to enthusiasm as they see the possibility of being freed of many of their routine tasks and having more time to solve critical business problems for the enterprise."

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Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Al Khaleej Today. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in , feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.

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