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Office Workers Ready to Embrace AI Assistants

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Business executives are banking on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in hopes of unlocking more value out of their data and drive additional revenue. Rank-and-file office workers are also bullish over AI, but for different reasons.

Nearly all (95 percent) of the 2,270 white-collar workers in a Cisco survey believe that AI and virtual assistants can improve some of the more mundane aspects of their jobs, like taking notes, typing documents, scheduling meetings and juggling emails. Respondents hailed from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil China, France, Germany, India and the U.K.

Fifty-seven percent of those quizzed by Cisco said virtual assistants would help make their teams more productive and 51 percent said it would make them more focused. And most folks aren't worried about AI coming for their jobs. In fact, approximately 60 percent of respondents said that advancements in technology would lead to more jobs.

That's not to say that they completely trust AI.

Security was a key concern for 65 percent of respondents. Data privacy and security were the top reasons workers said they wouldn't use popular virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant at the office.

Yet, even those who are wary of AI wouldn't mind letting the technology take over some tasks. Thirty-nine percent of those who are distrustful of the technology said they would gladly let it handle some of their least favorite tasks.

AI may also help eradicate carpal tunnel syndrome, a least among office workers who spend countless hours behind a keyboard. Sixty-two percent of respondents believe that speaking to virtual assistants will replace typing someday. Approximately 30 percent expect their trusty keyboards to become relics in the next five years.

"Like the people who responded to this survey, I am optimistic about the prospects that AI will make our work lives better," remarked Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Applications Group. "Working in an AI-enhanced company means we'll have more opportunity to succeed, and more flexibility to do the work we find rewarding."

In an interesting observation, Cisco discovered that the fandom surrounding two major science fiction properties can influence one's views on AI.

Seventy-eight percent of fans of the Star Trek and Star Wars universes are "super excited" about AI possibly improving their job performance. Sixty-eight percent of non-fans felt the same, stated the report.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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