Microsoft: APAC workers optimistic about AI

At a glance

  • Employees in Asia Pacific are "optimistic" about Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will change the way people work in the region, hopefully for the better, according to the most recent  Microsoft study.

Employees in Asia Pacific are "optimistic" about Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will change the way people work in the region, hopefully for the better, according to the most recent Microsoft study.

While 58 percent of respondents feared AI will take over their jobs, a far greater majority, 78 percent, believe AI will boost productivity and intend to use it to lighten their workloads.

In its 2023 Work Trend Index report, “Will AI Fix Work?”, Microsoft included 14 Asia Pacific markets - the Philippines, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The report surveyed 31,000 people across industries in 31 countries, as well as trillions of signals from emails, meetings, and chats across Microsoft 365, plus labor trends on LinkedIn.

The data showed that the pace of work has accelerated faster than humans can keep up, and it’s impacting innovation.

"Next-generation AI will lift the weight of work " the Microsoft report underscored.

Organizations that move first to embrace AI will break the cycle — increasing creativity and productivity for everyone.

“AI represents a whole new way of working, as it moves from autopilot to copilot, freeing us from digital debt and fuelling innovation,” explained Vinod Muralidharan, Microsoft Asia General Manager of Modern Work. “As work evolves with AI, so must we."

Significantly, employees across Asia Pacific are optimistic about AI.

The Work Trend Index research showed that 78 percent of people in the region would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads.

"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,” he maintained.

The report shares three key insights for business leaders as they look to understand and responsibly adopt AI for their organization.

First, digital debt is costing us innovation.

"We’re all carrying digital debt: The volume of data, emails and chats has outpaced our ability to process it all. There is an opportunity to make our existing communications more productive," according to the report.

Every minute spent managing this digital debt is a minute not spent on creative work.

The bulk, 72 percent of people in Asia Pacific, say they don’t have enough time and energy to get their work done, and those people are three times more likely to say they struggled with being innovative.

Of the time spent in Microsoft 365, for example, the average person spends 57 percent communicating and only 43 percent creating.

And the number 1 productivity disruption is inefficient meetings.

Secondly, there’s a new AI-employee alliance.

While 58 percent of respondents in Asia Pacific say they’re worried AI will replace their jobs, even more – 78 percent – would delegate as much work as possible to AI in order to lessen their workloads.

In Asia Pacific, 3 in 4 people would be comfortable using AI not just for administrative tasks but also analytical work and creative aspects of their role.

Meanwhile, managers are twice more likely to say that AI would be most valuable in their workplace by boosting productivity rather than cutting headcount.

Thirdly, every employee needs AI aptitude.

Every employee, not just AI experts, will need new core competencies such as prompt engineering in their day to day.

Most, or 85 percent of leaders in Asia Pacific, anticipate employees will need new skills in the AI era.

Currently, 71 percent of people in Asia Pacific say they don’t have the right capabilities to get their work done.