Tech

The majority of global workers expect to trust autonomous AI in the future, Salesforce finds

Workers said they still want humans handling certain functions, like onboarding, training, and inclusivity.
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Emily Parsons

less than 3 min read

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Many workers may soon trust AI to independently do some tasks for them, but they still want human oversight and touchpoints for certain functions, according to new data from Salesforce.

Building trust. The majority (77%) of respondents said they’ll eventually trust autonomous AI to make work easier, according to a spring Salesforce survey released on June 26. However, just 10% of the 6,000 knowledge workers surveyed in nine countries said they currently “trust AI to operate autonomously today.”

There are notable differences in who has confidence in the emerging technology. More than one-half (51%) of leaders who responded to the survey said they rely on AI to do their work, versus just 40% of the employees who responded. Respondents who understand how AI is used in their workplace are five times more likely to trust AI to operate autonomously within the next two years. But 54% of workers said they don’t know how AI is being used or regulated at their company.

Workers said they currently trust AI to do 43% of their job tasks, including writing code, analyzing data, and writing first drafts of written communications. However, they want a lot of HR functions, including onboarding, training, and inclusivity, to largely be handled by humans, the survey found.

Workers are more likely to trust AI when they know humans are still involved in the process, Paula Goldman, EVP and chief ethical and humane use officer at Salesforce, said during a press briefing about the findings. “We know that a human touch builds trust in AI,” she said. “The way that we design human/AI interaction has to evolve to keep pace with how quickly AI itself is evolving.”

But some research, including a spring survey by public relations firm Edelman, indicates that trust in AI has declined, and some scholars have cautioned against hastily trusting AI because it may not always be accurate.

Big picture. There are wider concerns about the impact AI may have on jobs and workers’ quality of life, and the risks should be taken seriously, according to Goldman. She said it’s incumbent on companies and governments to create AI safeguards together.

“We need governments and civil society engaged,” she said. “It’s also fantastic to see AI safety institutes being spun up across a number of different countries to actually measure the questions of different safety risks.”

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.