Three in four Asia Pacific knowledge workers are using and benefiting from AI

Applications of AI

Artificial intelligence has become a commonly used tool among knowledge workers, with more than half (55%) of knowledge workers now using AI-enhanced software applications in the workplace.

A new report from Freshworks reveals that employees in Asia Pacific are learning to use AI at an “incredible rate”, with 70% using it at least once a week and 59% claiming to save at least three hours a week thanks to the technology.

These are based on an online survey conducted by Method Research and distributed by PureSpectrum to 7,000 adults, including 500 in Singapore. Data was collected from March 9 to April 4, 2024.

Other respondents were based in the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Australia/New Zealand, India, UAE, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.

Survey results show that 73% of workers say that using AI-enhanced software applications in the workplace helps them get more done, improves the quality of their work, and makes it easier to complete tasks.

Freshworks' AI ROI study also surveyed 1,000 office workers across Asia Pacific working in areas such as HR, IT, customer service and support, finance and accounting, sales, marketing, and legal.

According to the report, Asia Pacific workers are primarily using AI for tasks such as content writing and creation (48%), research and brainstorming (47%), and data analysis (45%). Worker satisfaction is particularly high, with 71% saying they feel comfortable using AI and the same number saying they trust the AI's output.

However, privacy remains a major concern for organisations tasked with keeping sensitive data safe: more than half (51%) of Asia Pacific employees admit to using free versions of online AI tools such as ChatGPT, and only one in three (33%) say they are concerned about where AI gets its information.

A large amount of potentially sensitive company information could be leaked and used to train future versions of other companies' AI models.

“We are seeing incredible growth in technology that has great potential to deliver business value,” said Sandy Obertfeld, senior vice president, Asia Pacific, Japan and Middle East and Africa, Freshworks.

“However, as AI becomes increasingly prevalent, we highlighted the need for companies to provide employees with the right training and onboarding so they can immerse themselves in the software and maximize the benefits of AI safely and effectively,” Obertfeld said. “Providing access to user-friendly business software will be key to satisfying both future customers and employees.”

The need for training is clear, as privacy concerns surround the use of free online AI tools, with APAC workers not trusting AI due to security risks (53%) and unpredictability (43%).

One in three employees (37%) admit that AI is difficult to understand, and 73% believe that employees need training and onboarding to derive meaningful benefits from using AI.

However, the survey also found that negative perceptions of AI replacing jobs are softening in APAC, with 76% of workers agreeing that AI will never be able to fully replace human workers, especially younger, less-skilled talent.

Many employees are also likely to advocate for stronger company policies regarding AI, with more than two-thirds (69%) of employees saying they would trust AI software in the workplace more if it required human review of the results.

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