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A survey by online learning platform edX shows sky-high expectations of AI among executives. They expect a much greater role for artificial intelligence in the coming years, while only 20 percent of the employees surveyed think AI could replace their jobs.

The report was published under the title of Navigating the Workplace in the Age of AI. edX partnered with research firm Workplace Intelligence to survey 800 knowledge workers and 800 executives (including 500 CEOs).

The most striking result is that executives expect 49 percent of current workplace skills to be replaced by AI by 2025. In other words, they predict a giant transformation of the labour market, in which automation will be applied almost everywhere.

Learning to work with AI

There are still many hurdles to overcome before the AI transformation can take place. First, 87 percent of business leaders say they struggle to find talented employees with AI skills. 82 percent believe AI talents should be better paid, while 74 percent think that group deserves more promotions. Lower-paid labour can be replaced, according to 56 percent. The importance of AI knowledge is rated high: 79 percent of executives expect they will be unprepared for the future of working life if they do not learn about AI.

47 percent of this group expect most or all of the CEO’s current tasks to be taken over. Among knowledge workers, only 20 percent think their own jobs could be automated that way.

There is not yet much momentum in learning programs for AI deployment during work. Only 24 percent of knowledge workers surveyed receive learning materials for developing AI skills.

Embrace AI, or else

Head of edX for Business Andy Morgan argues that business leaders face an important choice: embrace AI or fall behind. Executives can modernize their organizations in many ways, he says, but providing an
“outcome-based learning and development program” should play a central role in the integration of AI in businesses.

“While most senior executives recognize that AI can give their company an advantage, savvy leaders know that AI can also support them in their own roles,” states Managing Partner at Workplace Intelligence Dan Schawbel.

Also read: Big Tech struggling to make money from generative AI