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UK workers not worried about artificial intelligence’s impact on their careers

Professionals accept that software robots will take over some of the work tasks they do, but they increasingly see this as a good thing

Over two thirds (68%) of professionals in the UK said they are not phased by the increasing take-up of artificial intelligence (AI), because they don’t think their role can be replaced with technology.

The research from Adobe, surveying 2,000 UK professionals, also found 66% of UK professionals want an AI assistant to share their workload.

However, they only want support for tasks that require low-level skills. Almost half (46%) think an important task for AI technology is reminding workers of projects or appointments, 36% said AI helps with research, and 30% said it helped them search documents for information.

AI and automation technologies are often seen as a threat to jobs as organisations look at ways to cut the cost of completing repetitive tasks. For example, according to research by PwC, up to 28% of young workers’ jobs in the UK could be automated over the next 15 years.

PwC’s study, which looked at young people working in countries such as the UK, the US and Germany, found that by the 2030s, many current jobs for workers aged between 16 and 24 in the UK will be at risk of automation.

Mark Greenaway, head of emerging business for EMEA at Adobe, said: “It’s important that workers remember AI can help make their lives easier, so they have more free time innovating and being productive.”

This could benefit the UK, which is currently ranked seventh in the G7 and 17th in the G20 in terms of productivity per person.

Read more about artificial intelligence in the enterprise

Acceptance in the workforce has improved. Today office workers have mainly come to terms with certain technologies taking over some of their jobs. In the UK, 60% of them think admin-based office tasks will be done by technology in the next 20 years.

“Our findings suggest people are open to change, but they also show that workers want to be confident when using new technologies,” said Greenaway. “Currently, the majority don’t feel they have the skills necessary to do so – so more needs to be done by businesses.”

It is not just the IT users that need training, as there is also a lack of skills in the IT department for implementing AI. A recent study by the CBI found only a third of firms believe they have the skills and capabilities needed to adopt the technology.

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics