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Most AI adopters will retain replaced employees

Ethics are a major concern among those adopting artificial intelligence technology

The majority (80%) of businesses adopting artificial intelligence (AI) technology to replace a previously human task, will retain, retrain and upskill those workers impacted, according to research from Infosys.

The research report, Amplifying Human Potential: Towards Purposeful Artificial Intelligence, polled 1,600 senior business decision-makers at large organisations across the world.

The industries where plans to retain and retrain workers were most pronounced were fast-moving consumer goods (94%); aerospace and automotive (87%); energy, oil and gas (80%); and pharmaceutical and life sciences (78%). The research reveals AI will cause greater investment in workforces, especially in China (95%), France (90%), Germany (89%), the UK (82%), and the US (76%).

AI was perceived as a long-term strategic priority for innovation, with 76% of respondents citing AI as fundamental to the success of their organisation’s strategy, and 64% believing that their organisation’s future growth is dependent on large-scale AI adoption.

The research found that nearly two-thirds (62%) believed that stringent ethical standards will be needed to ensure the success of AI. Over half (53%) agreed that ethical concerns are a significant obstacle to effective application of AI.

Sandeep Dadlani, president and head of Americas at Infosys, said that coming advancements in AI need to be developed “morally and ethically.”

Artificial intelligence adoption is on the rise and we are excited to see the investments in AI that businesses are gradually making to derive meaningful and creative change,” he said. “The achievements are remarkable and the opportunities AI is bringing forth are vast."

He added: “As we are seeing AI mature and gain momentum, our research shows that the next four years will witness further spikes in interest, and general bullishness about the significant value and benefits that can be obtained through AI adoption. As an industry therefore, we must take necessary steps to ensure AI is developed morally and ethically across every part of society and that employees are actively engaged and provided with the necessary training to be central to this journey.”

Separate research from Accenture Strategy found that workers are surprisingly positive about the impact of digital technology on the workplace.

The Harnessing: Revolution: Creating the Future Workforce report found that 84% of workers surveyed are optimistic about the impact of digital on their job. More than two-thirds think that technologies such as robots, data analytics and artificial intelligence will help them be more efficient (74%), learn new skills (73%) and improve the quality of their work (66%).

Mark Knickrehm, group chief executive for Accenture Strategy, explained that now is the time for action on technology.

“Creating the future workforce now is the responsibility of every CEO," he said. "Those leaders who make their people a strategic business priority and understand the urgency of this challenge will be the ones that make the greatest gains in growth and innovation.”