Is AI Really Going to Take Over Our Jobs? Here’s What Bosses and Employees Think

A new survey from Microsoft and IDC shows that sentiments towards AI technology are largely positive.
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There’s been a lot of talk about the looming impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workforce. Experts from the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector have talked about the potential job displacements brought about by AI technology, and the conversation is already spreading to other industries.

But a new survey by global technology giant Microsoft and multinational market analyst International Data Corp. (IDC) showed that for the most part, employers and employees aren’t worried about AI. In fact, they’re excited about it.

“The study, which surveyed 109 business leaders and 100 workers in the Philippines, found that 74 percent of both business leaders and workers see AI to help do their existing jobs better or reduce repetitive tasks,” wrote Microsoft.

In the survey, 34 percent of bosses and 46 percent of employees said that AI will “help employees do their existing jobs better,” while 40 percent of business leaders and 28 percent of workers said it will “reduce repetitive routine tasks in employee jobs.” A further 17 percent of employers and 15 percent of workers said that implementing the technology into their businesses will “create new knowledge-based jobs for employees” instead of replace them.

In fact, only eight percent of business leaders and five percent of workers said that AI will replace any jobs. The rest of the respondents—one percent of leaders and six percent of employees—said that AI will have no impact whatsoever on their businesses.

“Leaders and workers alike believe that AI will augment, and not replace, jobs,” said Jek Hermida, solutions specialist for data and AI solutions at Microsoft Philippines.


Optimistic But Not Yet Ready

Microsoft and IDC also expounded on the Philippines’ optimism with AI, in that the study asked the respondents what types of positive impact they expect from the new technology. And according to the survey, the Philippines is much more optimistic about AI’s impact on businesses compared to other Asian countries.

“In general, people in the Philippines are quite optimistic around their expectations for AI—what they're seeing today in terms of results that they're already getting, but also the expectations that they have in the future,” said Randy Roberts head of operations at IDC Philippines. “[The expectations are] exceptionally high compared to the rest of the region.”

In particular, majority of the participants that have already integrated AI into their businesses expect their customer engagements to improve as a result. Many of them also said that AI will make their employees more productive and will make their businesses more competitive.

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However, the survey also highlighted that despite the optimism, a majority of Philippine businesses are still not ready to apply AI technology to their companies. In particular, Roberts said that the Philippines is lagging in investments to AI compared to other Asian countries.

“The Philippines is not yet ready for AI,” claimed Roberts. “Organizations’ leadership should make AI a core part of their strategy and continuously invest in this transformative technology for the long-term success, sometimes without immediate returns.”

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Lorenzo Kyle Subido
Lorenzo Kyle Subido is a staff writer for Esquire Philippines.
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