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Digital

 

An artificial intelligence (AI) trust gap has formed in the workplace, according to a new global study from Workday, Inc. Both business leaders and employees agree that AI holds great opportunities for business transformation, but there’s a lack of trust that it will be deployed responsibly. Employees show an even deeper level of skepticism than their leadership counterparts, according to Workday’s Closing the AI Trust Gap report.

Key findings include:

“Our research shows that leaders and employees lack confidence in, and understanding of, their organizations’ intentions around AI deployment within the workplace.”

— Jim Stratton, CTO, Workday
  • Just 62% of business leaders (C-suite or their direct reports) welcome AI. This number is even lower among employees, at 52%.
  • 23% of employees are not confident their organization puts employee interests above its own when implementing AI.
  • 70% of business leaders agree AI should be developed in a way that easily allows for human review and intervention.
  • 42% of employees believe their company does not have a clear understanding of which systems should be fully automated and which require human intervention.
  • 3 in 4 employees say their organization is not collaborating on AI regulation.
  • 4 in 5 employees say their company has yet to share guidelines on responsible AI use.

“There’s no denying that AI holds immense opportunities for business transformation. However, our research shows that leaders and employees lack confidence in, and understanding of, their organizations’ intentions around AI deployment within the workplace,” said Jim Stratton, chief technology officer, Workday. “To help close this trust gap, organizations must adopt a comprehensive approach to AI responsibility and governance, with a lens on policy advocacy to help strike the right balance between innovation and trust.”

AI In The Workplace
(Source: Closing the AI Trust Gap, Workday, Inc)

 

“Ethical standards in the use of AI and ML are vital for long-term success. As we introduce more and more AI technologies, we are focused on building trust with customers and employees,” said Dan Cohen, chief information officer and director of operations at The Amenity Collective. “Our aspirational goal is to create a culture, at the very core of our brand, that adopts AI and empowers each person in our company to use it to do the right thing for our customers. I applaud Workday’s commitment to understanding and addressing the sentiment of leaders and employees so we can work to close the AI trust gap.”

A Lack of Trust At All Levels

When it comes to organizations adopting and deploying AI responsibly, there is a lack of trust at all levels of the workforce, particularly from employees. Only 62% of leaders welcome AI adoption in their organization, and the same percentage of leaders are confident their organization will ensure AI is implemented in a responsible and trustworthy way. At the employee level, those numbers drop even further to 52% and 55% respectively.

There’s also uncertainty among employees and leaders that their organization will implement AI in the right way. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of employees are not confident their organization puts employee interests above its own when implementing AI, and leaders agree: 21% of leaders report they are not confident their organizations will put employee interests first.

Human Intervention With AI

Leaders and employees want human involvement in AI processes, but are unclear on the best way to do so. The majority (70%) of business leaders agree AI should be developed in a way that easily allows for human review and intervention. However, 42% of employees believe their company does not have a clear understanding of which systems should be fully automated and which require human intervention.

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Earlier Workday-commissioned research on AI further validates concerns around companies’ abilities to implement AI responsibly and effectively: nearly three-quarters (72%) of leaders said their organization lacks the skills to fully implement AI and ML, and an even slightly higher percentage (76%) said their own knowledge of AI and ML applications needs improvement.

Smart AI Governance With Transparency

Asked to imagine a future where AI is a part of everyday life, 42% of leaders and 36% of employees cite organizational frameworks and regulation as most important for building trustworthy AI. However, there’s a lack of organization-wide visibility around AI regulation and guidelines. Three in four employees say their organization is not collaborating on AI regulation, and four in five say their company has yet to share guidelines on responsible AI use.

Workday launched its research leading up to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, which will place in Davos, Switzerland January 15-19, 2024. Download the full report here.

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