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AI should be BANNED from the workplace

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Three in every five workers want the government to ban artificial intelligence from the workplace, according to new research from Randstad UK.

A poll of 1,147 people commissioned by the recruiter, found that 60 per cent of workers said they would support a government decision to ban artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the workplace — while only two-fifths (40 per cent) said they would not.

Victoria Short, chief executive of Randstad UK said: “Italy tried to ban ChatGPT.  We have strikes in Hollywood because screenwriters don’t want AI to write their jokes.  And the workers we polled clearly don’t think AI is going to complement the way we work either — they think AI is going to disrupt it.  Even if AI doesn’t lay waste to their roles, it might make it far easier for non-skilled labour to challenge more seasoned professionals within their field.  Attempts to ban AI from work seem futile though.”

When the workers were asked if they were worried about their job being replaced by AI,  46 per cent of them were either worried or very worried.  More than a quarter (26 per cent) said they were very worried, and a fifth (20 per cent) said they were somewhat worried.  While fewer than one in six (17 per cent) said they had no major concerns, roughly two in every five (37 per cent) said they were not worried at all.       

Victoria Short said: “Goldman Sachs predicts AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs.  AI is good at processing large amounts of data and articulating that data in a form that allows us to use it. It is set to replace repetitive tasks — and anything formulaic, routine, or involving data entry is vulnerable. The combination of increased access to robotics and AI tools appears to be making people nervous.”

When asked if they would use AI tools for work-related tasks, 37 per cent said they would not, while 27 per cent said they would consider it. But two in every five said they were already using AI tools for work-related tasks.

The findings were unveiled at an event hosted by Randstad where David Rowan — the founding editor-in-chief of WIRED magazine’s UK edition, chair of the G8 innovation summit, and a leading authority on technology’s impact on business — discussed whether AI was a time saver or a skills slayer.

Victoria Short said: “There’s an obvious dissonance between people’s fear of AI and the fact they are using artificial intelligence, or are considering using it, on their own terms.  While the fears of AI potentially taking jobs is somewhat justified, it’s a natural human reaction to fear a new technology.  Let’s not forget the UK has a talent scarcity the likes of which we haven’t seen for years. 

“Employers must address those fears, reassure their workers, and help retain good talent by offering development opportunities in tech, upskilling employees and bringing on the next generation of workers, ready-made and trained for the new workplace environment, through initiatives such as digital apprenticeships.”

According to a recently published government white paper, the UK’s AI industry already employs over 50,000 people and contributed £3.7 billion to the economy last year.  The WEF Future of Jobs Report predicts that the impact of most technologies on jobs is expected to be a net positive over the next five years.

  • Employers anticipate that 23% of jobs are expected to change by 2027, with 69 million new jobs created and 83 million eliminated
  • 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years; 60% of workers will require training before 2027, but only half of workers are seen to have access to adequate training opportunities today

Victoria Short said: “We have 20 years of data showing consistent demand from employees for digital training and reskilling — 89 per cent of workers are interested in learning and development opportunities.  So offering digital training aligns with the interests of the workforce and business.  While technological revolutions come with waves of labour market disruption, they also offer opportunities for growth.”

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