A.I. is changing how much workers trust their managers—and that could be a good thing

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we work and, depending on the day, workers are either anxious about being displaced or encouraged about the benefits AI can bring to the office and their lives. (Oftentimes, it’s both.)

CNBC writes that a recent report also suggests that AI-enabled platforms are changing employees’ relationships, specifically how much workers trust their managers to do certain tasks — and that could be a good thing.

According to a new AI at Work survey conducted by Oracle and human-resources advisory and research firm Future Workplace, 57% of U.S. workers said they would trust a robot, over their boss, to answer certain questions and complete workplace to-dos.

Emily He, senior vice president of human capital management at Oracle, tells CNBC Make It that robots in these scenarios generally refer to digital assistant platforms (think: Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant).The most common ways workers prefer to tap AI is to get unbiased information, maintain work schedules and solve specific problems. That could mean launching a chatbot (an AI-powered service that allows users to ask questions and receive answers) to answer questions around company policies, health insurance information, remaining vacation days, conflict resolution and so on, she says.

On the other hand, human bosses are still most trusted to understand employees’ feelings, coach workers and create or promote a work culture.

Technology has played a large part in blurring the lines between the home and work, Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace, explains, and more workers are adopting the attitude of bringing their whole selves to the office. “Part of why people want to do that is that people are working more hours,” he says. “Because of technology, we’re always working — at night, weekends, on vacation — so they’re taking who they are into the workplace whether they like it or not. And so we have to have leaders be more accepting and empathetic and connect with people on a human level.”

Some of the biggest barriers to adoption are worker concerns around security, privacy and ease of use. Schawbel says companies should be sure to address these issues by being transparent in the ways AI is being adopted around the workplace, and how data is both provided to employees and collected from them when interacting with tech.