Most senior executives would be comfortable having robotic ‘co-workers' but the majority would not want to be managed by them, a new global study has found.

Software firm Pegasystems surveyed almost 400 people to source their views on the increased role artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will play in the workplace of the future.

The respondents work across a range of sectors, including financial services, insurance, manufacturing, telecoms & media, public sector and retail.

The majority – 86 per cent – said they were comfortable with the introduction of machine ‘co-workers’ into the workplace. In fact, 67 per cent said they expected the term 'workforce' to cover both intelligent machines and human colleagues in the future.

But when asked whether they would like to be managed by AI, 84 per cent of UK managers said they would not be comfortable with the prospect.

The expectation that AI will replace human workers in administrative roles is high – with 70 percent predicting this will happen within 20 years.

The survey found that UK business leaders believe that greater use of AI will create much better working conditions.

For example, 59 per cent expect that the automation of previously manual processes will make a significant difference in enabling staff to take on more varied, rewarding roles.

Seventy-three percent agree that AI will will allow workers to make more informed decisions at a more junior level. Humans will continue to have an important role to play in jobs requiring emotional intelligence, judgement, and cultural understanding.

Only 38 percent expect AI to replace human workers in customer-facing roles in 20 years time, while 74 percent think it will become standard practice for AI to be used to suggest next-best-actions to customer service agents within the next five years.

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