Procurement · 15 November 2018

1 in 3 workers think a robot could do a better job than their boss

Robot boss
Will machines be able to make better decisions than humans in the workplace?

A third of workers believe a robot would be better than their boss at making decisions, new survey findings have shown.

According to the Advanced Trends Report 2018/19, produced by software group Advanced, 34% of employees said they would prefer a robot telling them what to do and when if it had access to the right business intelligence.

Nearly two-thirds said they would be happy to work alongside robotic technology if it meant fewer manual processes. This, Advanced said, was most likely because automation acts as a workforce multiplier, increasing output while reducing time wasted on repetitive and low-skilled duties.

Indeed 42% of workers said they’d spend an extra 60 minutes a day, if they had it available, on planning and forecasting.  The majority – 72% – said they have already adopted technology to automate tasks and processes, albeit many of these are likely using simple commands to handle defined actions.

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The report revealed that 35% want to see Artificial Intelligence in their daily working lives – on a par with Cloud services – while 32% want to see Business Intelligence followed by Predictive Analytics, the Internet of Things, chatbots and Robotic Process Automation.

However, despite this clear appetite for Artificial Intelligence and automation, the report found that a lack of clear leadership was holding back adoption.

It stated that just 35% of C-Suite/managing directors were driving technology change with 51% believing responsibility fell instead to the IT department.

“It perhaps comes as no surprise, then, that 59% of employees think less than half of people in their organisation are ready to adopt new technology to change the way they work,” said Advanced chief executive Gordon Wilson.

“Disruptive technology is encouraging us to look afresh at all aspects of business. While robots are unlikely to take on the job of decision maker – the reality is that they are simply not yet suited to such complex tasks and will instead work side-by-side with humans.”

Our findings suggest that employees are dissatisfied with their current leadership, want to get rid of arbitrary decision making and are starting to challenge the norms. Leaders need to step up, to provide the clear direction that people need and take charge of the intense technology change happening as a result of the digital era.”

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