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AI study: Over 60 per cent use Artificial Intelligence at work – almost half of all employees are worried about losing their jobs

Zurich/Geneva, 28 August 2023

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is about to revolutionise the world of work. Programmes based on Generative AI are now easily accessible to a broad public, providing them with powerful tools. A survey by the audit and consulting company Deloitte found that almost 61 per cent of respondents who work with a computer already use Generative AI Programmes in their day-to-day work – in some cases, without their line manager knowing. What is interesting is that the people who are using Generative AI more are the ones who are worried the most about the future of their jobs. However, implementing AI does not just increase efficiency – it also poses risks and requires a considerable amount of investment.

Annual report summaries written with ChatGPT, the corresponding images created with DALL-E – Generative AI Programmes have rapidly established themselves in Swiss workplaces and are now part of everyday life for many office employees. This is shown by a survey entitled “The rapid emergence of Generative AI in Switzerland”, conducted by the audit and consulting company Deloitte Switzerland. For the survey, 1,002 people throughout Switzerland who could, in principle, use Generative AI in their work (e.g. with the help of a computer or a similar device) were polled. As the survey of this group of people showed, six out of ten employees (61%) who work with a computer or a similar device already use Generative AI Programmes in their jobs. In the private sphere, usage rates are slightly higher, at 64 per cent. AI-based text programmes accounted for the highest share of work use (47%), followed by image programmes (26%) and coding programmes (24%). Most of those surveyed were satisfied with the results they achieved with AI, giving them a rating of seven out of a possible ten points.

No guidelines for AI use at many companies
The large number of users shows that Generative AI is already widely implemented in the office work environment. Many respondents stated that AI programmes help them to work more efficiently (63%), be more creative (54%) or improve the quality of their work (45%). However, the broad use of Generative AI by employees also reveals another problem that poses major risks for companies: In many businesses, AI implementation is not controlled by management, and there are thus no clear guidelines for its use. Instead, it is implemented by the employees themselves – in a quarter of cases (26%), this even occurs without their direct line manager being aware of it. Sixty-one per cent of those surveyed, for example, said that their company did not have any internal guidelines on the use of AI. Furthermore, 24 per cent of respondents stated that the use of AI was prohibited at their company, at least for the time being.

It poses considerable risks for companies, such as with regard to data protection or the circumvention of established operating processes. This weakness is also evident in the data about devices used – just under 60 per cent of respondents stated that they used Generative AI on their personal computers or mobiles for work.

However, many survey respondents were also aware of the potential risks that their employer could face from the use of AI. Two-thirds (67%) view incorrect or incomplete information as one of the main disadvantages of Generative AI. Sixty-five per cent of those surveyed have concerns about cyber-security, 64 per cent cited data protection as a problem, and 61 per cent criticised the lack of transparency with regard to sources and information when using AI programmes.

A learning-by-doing process for companies
“Companies cannot simply ignore or casually make AI implementations part of their daily routine. Rather, they need to embed AI into existing processes to realise the full potential of AI and address the risks described, as many employees are already using such AI solutions,” says Antonio Russo, Innovation Leader at Deloitte Switzerland. “For many, it will be a learning-by-doing process. Companies must first address the legal and technological foundations to manage risks effectively. Only in the second step is it about productivity increases. The final step is to define a long-term strategy beyond the immediate visible benefits. This requires considerable investment. In the long run, however, this promises much higher productivity and business impact.”

Widespread fear of potential job losses
These efficiency improvements and changing business models are one of the things that many employees and AI users worry about. Just under half of all respondents (43%) stated that they were concerned about losing their job due to the increasing use of AI programmes in the next five years. One particularly interesting finding is that a much higher proportion of employees who already use AI a lot in their work are worried about their professional futures (69%).

This is also one of the reasons why over half of those surveyed (54%) were convinced they would have to learn how to use Generative AI programmes. However, employees did not see themselves as being responsible for this. Instead, they believed that it was primarily up to their employer to teach them the required knowledge by means of training courses (48%). There is a large expectation gap here, as only 31 per cent of respondents have received active support or training from their employer.

“Artificial Intelligence will fundamentally change the world of work in the coming years. A constructive approach to the topic is important for both employees and employers. Employees benefit from simplified processes and increased efficiency. Companies, however, are responsible for addressing concerns about AI’s impact on workplaces and training their employees through continuing education measures. This can lead to new forms of collaboration between humans and AI,” explains Antonio Russo. “In constructively designed AI ecosystems, employees are not simply replaced by AI solutions. Rather, AI-trained professionals use their knowledge in a more targeted way in their daily work and thus actively contribute to the company’s future strategy.”

What is Generative AI?
Generally speaking, the term Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to all computers that are capable of performing tasks that normally require human Intelligence, such as learning, logical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. Generative AI is an AI solution that uses several types of technology: It creates content in various forms (e.g. text, images, audio, code, language, video), which in the past could only be created with human capabilities and specialist knowledge. In recent times, innovations in the area of machine learning and cloud technologies and the viral popularity of publicly accessible applications have thrust Generative AI into the public eye. Generative AI is driven by foundation models such as GPT-4 (OpenAI), Megatron (NVIDIA), and Amazon’s Bedrock and Titan. These are all trained to process enormous quantities of data and calculations in order to perform a broad range of tasks.

About the survey
The Deloitte survey entitled “The rapid emergence of Generative AI in Switzerland” was conducted in June and July 2023. For the survey, 1,002 people in Switzerland who could, in principle, use Generative AI for their work (e.g. with the help of a computer or a similar device) were polled. The term “Generative AI” was defined relatively broadly and was not restricted to the use of certain tools. As the respondents had to work with a computer or a similar device to take part in the survey, the sample is not representative of the entire Swiss workforce. Rather, it is a snapshot of the distribution of Generative AI among those employees who could potentially integrate it into their work. As a result, the sample distribution is concentrated on technology-intensive sectors and functions.

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