British Workers Sceptical of Embracing AI

Clint OramClint OramNovember 1, 20175min

Anticipation, scepticism, and fear are holding more Brits than Americans back from embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace, according to a new study by CITE Research for SugarCRM.

The research on business executives in the US and UK reveals that the British are lagging behind when it comes to adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in their work and personal lives.

The survey reveals 47 percent of Brits are currently using technology powered by AI in the workplace, compared with 55 percent of Americans. This trend transcends into people’s personal lives, with 62 percent of Brits and 64 percent of American’s using AI for non-work-related tasks, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

The research also highlighted that when looking ahead, Brits are less open to embracing AI in the future – 69 percent of American respondents plan to deploy AI in the next two years, compared to 57 percent in the UK. Brits were twice as likely not to ever want to use AI, with one-in-five respondents (20 percent) opposing the technology, compared with one in ten Americans.

Top concerns about AI on both sides of the Atlantic revolve around trusting the technology. More than half of respondents (52 percent) worry about data security, with 30 percent saying it is their top concern. Another 40 percent said they fear AI technology will make errors, and 41 percent fear losing control over the data. While 30 percent said they fear job loss because of AI, only 12 percent list it as their top concern.

When it came to the applications for AI in the world of work, US participants were more likely than Brits to say they would want AI to help with communication with customers (54 percent vs 42 percent of Brits) or planning their day (46 percent vs 35 percent).

Automating data entry was the most popular task across the board for AI, with more than half (53 percent) believing it would help in their organisation, followed by gathering information on the internet (51 percent).

“The results of CITE Research’s survey reflect the industry’s view on ‘the cloud’,” ‘big data’ and other disruptive technologies over the years,” said Clint Oram, CMO and co-founder at SugarCRM.

“You have a group that is ready to jump in with both feet and a group of naysayers who are absolutely against the technology. The rest of us are in the middle. Many have heard all the hype and are intrigued, but they would like some assurances that the positives will outweigh the negatives before they are ready to start spending money on AI tools.

It’s interesting to see how attitudes differ across the Atlantic and that there is more reluctance from Brits in how AI can be used in their work. The technology offers the potential to reduce monotonous aspects of our working lives but there is a need to be realistic on its capabilities. It won’t replace people entirely and there is still a need for human interaction.”

In general, the survey showed that younger participants – those 34 or younger – were more excited and less fearful of AI. Younger participants were more likely to say their organisation will utilise it in the future (70 percent). Those 55 or older were more likely to worry about being overwhelmed with features they do not need (55 percent list this as a concern compared to 24 percent of those aged 18-54).

See the complete survey report here.

Clint Oram

Clint Oram

Clint helped found SugarCRM in 2004 with the goal of enabling companies around the world turn their customers into loyal fans. Today, he leads marketing and corporate development strategy for the company. Clint was one of the original architects and developers of the Sugar application and has focused on building out the product, company, partners and community in a variety of executive roles. Prior to co-founding SugarCRM, Clint held senior roles in the development, professional services and product management organizations at Epiphany, Octane Software and Hewlett Packard. He has 20 years of experience in the enterprise software industry and over 15 years designing and building award-winning CRM software solutions.

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