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Why workers are embracing the rise of the robot

19 November 2019

Three-quarters of British workers say they'd be happy to work alongside robotic technology if it meant they could reduce manual processes.

This is one of the findings of new research conducted by software provider Advanced, based on a survey of 1,000 UK senior decision-makers.

The result show that the use of technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots has increased significantly in the past year. And workers are increasingly embracing the changes, with 77% saying they would be happy to work alongside robotic technology, up from 65% a year ago.

The key findings from the Annual Trends survey for 2019-2020 show that:

  • 38% of workers are seeing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their daily working lives, up from 26% last year;
  • 29% are seeing chatbots (up from 18%);
  • 26% are seeing Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a 15% jump in 12 months;
  • One in four is seeing wearable technology;
  • And 52% say more than half of their organisation is ready to adopt new technology, up from 41%.

"What's clear from our latest report is that there is a growing appetite to adopt innovative technologies such as AI and RPA," said Gordon Wilson, ceo at Advanced. "Finally, these solutions are getting the reputation they deserve. These so-called disruptive tools have been given a bad name over the years, with the threat of robots taking people's jobs.

"The reality is they enable businesses to accelerate and compete, as well as simply help staff work more productively and become more engaged. Manual processes typically take up a lot of people's time so it's a no-brainer if AI and RPA can eliminate some of these processes to free up the workforce to spend more time on higher value tasks."

Just over half of those polled (51%) said a robot would be better at decision-making than their boss - a significant jump from 34% a year ago. Wilson said: "12 months on and technology is more reliable and able to make faster and more accurate decisions - and this makes it the perfect ally for senior leaders. Robotic technology can operate 24/7, as well as automate a high volume of information to generate insights quickly, while leadership teams can use this information to make more informed decisions and gain the insight that's required to look ahead."

AI has become the technology that people would most like to see in their daily lives (38%) - overtaking cloud software and services at 35%. However, 32% of respondents said their organisation is not acting fast enough to keep up with the pace of technology innovation.

Written by Rachel Miller.