Malaysians see AI as a hope for productivity more than a job threat
19 May 2023
Malaysian employees are more interested in partnering with artificial intelligence (AI) for work productivity than fearing that the increasing AI adoption would replace their jobs, according to Microsoft’s 2023 Work Trend Index report.
Microsoft said 62% of respondents in Malaysia are worried that AI will replace their jobs but 84% would delegate as much work as possible to AI, to lessen their workloads.
From Malaysian employers’ perspective, Microsoft Malaysia managing director K Raman said leaders are also looking into empowering their employees with AI, with only 23% hoping AI could help reduce the company’s headcount.
According to his slide presentation to the local media on Thursday (May 18), the top three desires for Malaysian leaders are for AI to increase employee productivity (32%), to help employees with necessary but mundane tasks (29%), and to increase employee’s well-being (26%).
Meanwhile, Malaysian employees are most comfortable using AI for analytical work (89%), to find information and answers (86%), as well as for administrative tasks (84%) and creative work (84%).
The Microsoft’s Work Trend Index survey was conducted by an independent research firm, Edelman Data x Intelligence, among 31,000 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets between Feb 1, 2023, and March 14, 2023. In the Malaysian market, a total of 1,000 employees and employers were surveyed.
The report titled “Will AI Fix Work?” also collected trillions of signals from emails, meetings, and chats across Microsoft 365, plus labour trends on Microsoft-owned LinkedIn.
Microsoft said that there is a 79% increase in job postings mentioning GPT — generative pre-trained transformer, which is a type of AI language model. There are also 33 times more LinkedIn posts mentioning generative AI or GPT year over year.
“There is a need for a skilled workforce to reap the benefits of AI-powered technology and solutions. Human-AI collaboration is going to be critical, as we shift from AI on autopilot to AI as our copilot,” Raman said.
“The most pressing opportunity and responsibility for every leader is to understand how to leverage AI to remove the drudgery of work, unleash creativity, and build AI aptitude.”
Raman said that currently, the banking, telecommunications and conglomerates in Malaysia, especially in the servicing sector, have shown excitement to deploy and use AI.
“It is all about the return on investment (ROI); they (companies) said show me that I can be more productive when I adopt this technology, that I can drive my topline and customer satisfaction. The appetite to invest (in AI) is there,” he said.
“I don’t think it is expensive (to invest in AI). Similar to cloud economics, you don’t have to use big capital expenditure (capex) expenses because everything is pay as you go, and that’s the beauty of this technology.
“Start with a small pilot; look at the effectiveness of the technology; look at the ROI and if it’s good, they (companies) can scale up and do a lot more. There is no more waiting for capex investment, waiting for hardwares to come in,” Raman said.
Besides empowering businesses in the AI-era, he added that Microsoft is in talks with the government to develop an ethical AI framework.
“We encourage the participation of the government to look at responsible AI; we also believe [that] large corporate customers have their governance within the deployment of AI, so we are working on both tracks,” he said.
Source: The Edge Malaysia