Survey says: Knowledge workers are actually ready for artificial intelligence to join the workplace.
Or at the very least, they are ready for AI to take over many of their daily tasks. 70% of those surveyed in Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index report said they would be willing to delegate “as much as possible” to AI platforms.
Why? Well, people simply don’t have enough time in the work day to get everything done. At their core, most tech or tech-adjacent jobs are bogged down with communication and logistics-oriented tasks like emails and status meetings. Nearly 2 out of 3 people struggle to find time in their day to do their actual job in between answering emails, the Microsoft survey also found.
That leaves very little time for innovation, creativity, and strategic thinking. So employees are ready to kick the “boring” or repetitive tasks to AI in order to get back to the parts of the job they enjoy.
That runs counter to the narrative dominating headlines today that AI is shaking up any notion of job security for tech and non-technical fields alike. Now, there is certainly a reason for such fear, since upwards of 300 million jobs across various industries could be replaced or downgraded by the rise of AI.
But Rohit Panedka, Microsoft’s site leader in Atlanta, says there are a lot more opportunities available for workers who leverage AI now and start paying down their “digital debt.”
“Productivity is important, but how do we make sure that the experiences [at work] are good as well?” Panedka told Hypepotamus. “[AI can] ease cognitive abilities so that [employees] can focus their energy more on creativity and innovation.”
On a practical level, AI can summarize video meetings (something particularly important for teams stretched across different time zones), work on the first draft of a white paper, or even provide coaching tips to ensure an email will be received well. Those use cases are things that Microsoft has been working on through the launch of the work productivity tool Copilot.
Microsoft In The Southeast
Microsoft has had a long presence in the Southeast region, with its Charlotte office dating back to 1990. Employees at the company’s Atlanta and Charlotte offices have been part of bringing some of the company’s biggest AI projects to life, be it work on Teams, Outlook, Bing, or Xbox.
“Every role at Microsoft can be an AI role these days. Our investment in AI spans the entire company,” said James Bolling, Principal Group Software Engineering Manager, and site leader for Microsoft’s Charlotte office. “In Charlotte specifically, we have teams working on things like Bing’s AI Chat feature as well as our automated customer support chatbot experience in Azure…It is our goal to democratize our breakthroughs in AI through Azure to help people and organizations be more productive, and go on to solve the most pressing problems of our society.”
The Atlanta office is also part of bringing AI innovation to life. Microsoft’s home in Atlanta, located in the Atlantic Station area, is home to many large product engineering groups for the company as well other teams working to bring more AI tools to the market.
AI As Your Competitive Advantage
Tech and non-technical employees can start using AI to supercharge their workflow, says Panedka. But the key is to learn how to use the technology to your advantage.
“Think through what use cases within your own businesses can be good candidates for applying AI…specifically mundane, tedious tasks,” he said.
So how can you stand out in the crowd today with new AI skills? Panedka said learning how to ask the right questions of an AI will be an important skill. But it is equally important to know what tasks – like fact checking and reviewing – are best suited for humans.
“Every employee needs AI aptitude,” Panedka added. His advice: “Be curious. Be willing to try out AI in your area of work. Through use, you will build expertise and comfort with the technology and with that comfort, you will also be able to provide good feedback for the products to be better.”