Who Should You Trust, the Boss or a Bot? Well …

A recent study from Oracle makes the case that given the choice, many workers will favor artificial intelligence over a human leader, though careful integration of AI into the workplace could ensure a better balance.

You may think that your employees might trust your opinion over an algorithm … but the data suggests otherwise.

Recently, Oracle and the firm Future Workplace conducted a study on the role of artificial intelligence at work [registration], and found that many employees are not just excited about what AI can do for their workplace, which is predicted to contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, but also more likely to listen to it than the people in charge.

The study comes with a surprising top-line stat: Given the choice of who to trust—a robot or a manager—64 percent of respondents worldwide went with the robot. (That said, U.S. respondents in the survey, which studied nearly 9,000 employees, only went with the bot 57 percent of the time.)

The report focused on the way that HR and AI could work together, and found that after years of distrust of a growing trend, employees are starting to come around. However, there are points of struggle: 76 percent of workers and 81 percent of HR leaders say that technological changes in the workplace are difficult to keep up with, while workers expressed interest in better user interfaces, better training, and more personalization from AI experiences.

In a news release, Emily He, the senior vice president of Oracle’s Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group, noted that this reflects a shifting trend toward AI that could affect the way that organizations handle HR.

“As this study shows, the relationship between humans and machines is being redefined at work, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to successfully managing this change,” He said in the release. “Instead, organizations need to partner with their HR organization to personalize the approach to implementing AI at work in order to meet the changing expectations of their teams around the world.”

So, what’s an organization to do to help keep the balance in check? Speaking to Fast Company, Oracle’s He recommended a balance—including putting the more basic, low-level work on the backs of AI-based tools.

“Machines will elevate the manager’s experience,” she told the magazine. “People see the difference between artificial intelligence and human intelligence, and they want from their managers things that machines can’t provide—things like empathy, personalized coaching, and career advice.”

Leave the big decisions to the bosses, and the trust will remain with the leadership.

(Design Cells/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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