‘Employees want regulation of AI’

Three in every five workers want to see curbs placed on artificial intelligence in the workplace, according to new research.

August 22, 2023
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According to a poll by recruiter Randstad UK, 60% of workers would support a government decision to ban artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the workplace.

Nearly half of employees (46%) said they were either worried or very worried by the prospect of their jobs disappearing through increased use of AI. A fifth (20%) said they were somewhat worried.

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

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.”

Yesterday the TUC urged the government to consider regulating AI in the workplace along similar lines to those advocated by the EU by establishing a graded system of risks, but so far ministers have been keen to signal a light touch “innovation-focused” approach to the new technology.

According to the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology about 50,000 people are employed in the UK AI industry, contributing £3.7bn to the economy in 2022. The World Economic Forum’s 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. But despite the many advances AI can bring, there is concern over its ability to generate misinformation, destroy notions of copyright and replace jobs.

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.”

She added that the survey results showed that employers needed to address legitimate fears about AI. They also needed to upskill existing workers and bring through the next generation “ready-made and trained for the new workplace environment, through initiatives such as digital apprenticeships.”

Original Article: Personnel Today

Creating a work culture that integrates AI while supporting employee health and job satisfaction is important. For all your recruitment challenges – contact our HR & digital recruitment specialist Gareth Allison on 02920 620702

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