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 that Brits are lagging behind when it comes to adopting AI technologies into their work and personal lives. The survey reveals 47 per cent of Brits are currently using technology powered by AI in the workplace, compared with 55 per cent of Americans. This trend transcends into people’s personal lives, with 62 per cent of Brits and 64 per cent 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. Sixty-nine per cent of American respondents plan to deploy AI in the next two years, compared to 57 per cent in the UK. Brits were twice as likely not to ever want to use AI, with one in five respondents (20 per cent) opposing the technology, compared with 1 in 10 Americans.
Top concerns about AI on both sides of the Atlantic revolve around trusting the technology. More than half of respondents (52 per cent) worry about data security, with 30 per cent saying it is their top concern. Another 40 per cent say they fear AI technology will make errors, and 41 per cent fear losing control over the data. While 30 per cent says they fear job loss because of AI, only 12 per cent 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 per cent vs. 42 per cent of Brits) or planning their day (46 per cent vs. 35 per cent). Automating data entry was the most popular task across the board for AI, with more than half (53 per cent) believing it would help in their organisation, followed by gathering information on the internet (51 per cent).
‘The results of CITE Research’s survey reflect the industry’s view on “the cloud” “big data” and other disruptive technologies over the years,’ says 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 per cent). Those 55 or older were more likely to worry about being overwhelmed with features they do not need (55 per cent list this as a concern compared to 24 per cent of those aged 18-54).