A survey of UK decision makers has found the interest and support for the use of robotic technology in the workplace has seen a notable increase since 2018, suggesting the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in office is set to grow.

Conducted by software provider Advanced and detailed in its Annual Trends Survey for 2019-20, the survey focuses on perceptions around workplace robotic technology, including AI and robotic process automation (RPA).

It found that more decision makers now see robotic technology as a benefit to the workplace, with 77% of the 1,000 decision makers surveyed now saying they would be happy to work alongside such technologies if it meant that manual processes were reduced. This is a significant jump from last year’s survey, where the number stood at just 65%.

AI is now also the technology that the most people would like to see in their daily lives, with 38% placing it as the top priority. This has seen it replace last year’s leader, cloud technology, which is now at just 35%.

More decision makers now report that they are seeing AI in their daily lives, with 38% reporting this, compared to 26% in 2018. Chatbot exposure is also on the increase, climbing from 18% to 29%.

RPA has also seen a significant surge, from 15% to 26%.

Growing enthusiasm for robotic technology in the workplace

The survey demonstrates that fear around jobs and robotic technology is dissipating as more businesses become aware of the productivity benefits it provides.

“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.”


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