UAE: 52% of employees would prefer AI colleagues to humans

The finding is based on a report that revealed the extent to which generative AI is transforming companies across the GCC

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Angel Tesorero

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File

Published: Tue 13 Feb 2024, 11:26 PM

Last updated: Tue 13 Feb 2024, 11:32 PM

Half, or 52 per cent, of UAE employees say they would prefer working with an AI (artificial intelligence) “colleague” over a human one, as they are confident they could respond well to a significant increase in the use of AI in the workplace.

This finding is based on the latest report by global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman that revealed the extent to which generative AI is transforming companies and communities across the GCC.


According to the report, “AI may impact staff retention, with the increasing use of AI in the workplace apparently changing employee behaviour.”

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Some 25 per cent of UAE employees report they are job-seeking due to AI disruption. The research also revealed that employees are open to using AI as a tool when changing jobs, with 41 per cent of UAE respondents saying they are open to AI screening their job applications, signalling potential shifts in the future of hiring.

The UAE is among the leading countries in the world for deploying generative AI with 74 per cent of UAE employees saying they use AI in the workplace every week. Generative AI or machine learning are algorithms such as ChatGPT that can be used to create new content, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos.

The country is also above the global average of employees receiving training in AI. The UAE posted 84 per cent, as compared to 64 per cent in 16 other countries covered by the report.

The fear, however, that AI will replace humans will not happen any time soon, assured the chief AI scientist at Meta.

Dr Yann LeCun, vice-president and chief AI scientist at Meta. Photo: Supplied
Dr Yann LeCun, vice-president and chief AI scientist at Meta. Photo: Supplied

Speaking on Tuesday, on the second day of World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024 in Dubai, Dr Yann LeCun, vice-president and chief AI scientist at Meta, said: “AI will not replace humans in managing, analysing and leading socio-economic activities across various business sectors any time soon.”

LeCun, a Turing Award Laureate, explained that AI experts and scientists still require a lot of time to develop technical settings that rival the human mind.

LeCun elaborated: “AI systems lack the administrative or planning capabilities that the human mind possesses, as well as the speed or temporal accuracy to analyse and manage complex issues.

“These AI’s cognitive abilities are less sophisticated than those of cats and dogs. It is very far from reaching human cognition and intelligence,” he added.

Safer and more effective AI

LeCun said the next phase of developing AI should focus on producing “systems with the highest levels of security and effectiveness because they are involved in operating, developing, and increasing the efficiency of all of the devices most commonly used around the world, such as phones and laptops, as well as the various modes of transport”.

This advice is consistent with the findings of the Oliver Wyman report that revealed “94 per cent of UAE employees who are using AI say that they may have exposed proprietary data while using public generative AI tools”.

“The primary ChatGPT risks related to the security landscape data are privacy, confidentiality and cyber fraud risks. Any information entered into ChatGPT – if chat history is not disabled – may become a part of its training dataset,” according to IT experts.

Jad Haddad, head of digital IMEA at Oliver Wyman, said: “It is vital for employers to keep pace with the technology and understand exactly how it impacts their company, and how to best integrate it into their processes and practices."

Jad Haddad. Photo: Supplied
Jad Haddad. Photo: Supplied

“The potential repercussions of employees using AI without the right training are serious, particularly in terms of security,” he underscored.

The Generative AI Survey was conducted by Oliver Wyman between October and November 2023, surveying more than 12,000 employees in 16 countries.

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