Aussie workers above average on artificial intelligence

Australia’s desk workers are above the global average in adopting artificial intelligence but say guidance is lacking from bosses on how it should be used.

Research data released on Wednesday shows one in four have tried AI tools for work as of January, up from one in five in September as take-up of the technology accelerates.

Research boss Christina Janzer at Slack, a team communication platform owned by tech giant Salesforce, has built her career on the future of work.

“It’s hard to ignore AI right now – that is what everyone is really focused on,” Ms Janzer told AAP.

She said the data showed workers were spending two out of five days on mundane tasks, which was a meaningful amount of wasted time.

“To me, that is the opportunity that AI can help with … so you’re not spending your time on the ‘work of work’,” she said.

But there were still mixed feelings, with less than half of workers excited about AI and the rest unsure about what it means for their job.

“I do think we need to be really thoughtful about what are the aspects of work that need to be augmented, and what are the ones that don’t,” Ms Janzer said.

“Personal connection is never going to be replaced by AI … it’s much more nuanced than we think.”

Almost 80 per cent of Australian workers surveyed said AI was improving their productivity, and the nation was ahead of others on taking it up (35 per cent versus a survey average of 26 per cent).

More Aussie employers were feeling a high degree of urgency to adopt the technology but workers were less likely than overseas counterparts to have received advice (35 per cent compared to 43 per cent).

“So there’s this huge disconnect between executives feeling this pressure and employees not knowing what to do or not knowing what the rules or guidelines are,” Ms Janzer said.

“That’s the gap that needs to be filled.”

The survey of more than 10,000 desk workers, including 1000 Australians, found writing prompts, summaries and automatically updating files were among the best uses for AI.


Marion Rae
(Australian Associated Press)


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