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APAC employees optimistic about AI adoption

According to Microsoft’s 2023 Work Trend Index, employees from the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are showing optimism about artificial intelligence (AI). Despite the anxiety of getting replaced, many believe that bots can help ease their heavy workloads. The study includes responses from 14 markets in APAC such as Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The report found that 78% of employees in APAC would delegate work to AI to reduce their workloads, including analytical and creative tasks, in addition to administrative tasks. The findings come as the majority of employees in APAC are overwhelmed by the volume of data, emails, and chats they need to process in a day. For 72% of APAC respondents, they do not have enough time and energy to complete their work, and they are three times more likely to say they struggle with innovation.

However, the findings also arrived amid growing concerns that AI could replace employees soon. A recent report from Goldman Sachs found that generative AI, such as Chat GPT, DALL-E, and LaMDA, could put at risk 300 million full-time jobs. Majority (86%) of HR professionals are also concerned that their roles could be automated in the future, according to a 2021 SkyNova research. Fears that they could be replaced are reflected in Microsoft’s report – as 58% said they are worried that AI would replace their jobs. Nonetheless, leaders surveyed were not as concerned about this happening and were 1.9 times more likely to say AI is most helpful in boosting productivity instead of cutting headcount.

According to the report, employees will need to develop skills in emerging AI tech, where 85% of leaders surveyed said staff will need new skills in the AI era. “The most pressing opportunity and responsibility for every leader is to understand how to leverage AI to remove the drudgery of work, unleash creativity, and build AI aptitude,” said Vinod Muralidharan, general manager Modern Work, Microsoft Asia, in a media release.

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