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Virtual assistants are fine – as long as they know their place

Far from fearing the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, 66% UK office workers are looking forward to having an AI-powered virtual assistant to share their workload, according to a new study by Adobe.

The free Adobe Scan app uses AI and machine learning to help users find documents, receipts, business cards and other items captured with a smartphone. Adobe Sensei technology analyses all the photos in a camera roll and picks out those that match what the user is looking for (i.e. an image of a text document). Items can also be searched for by name and date.

The top tasks that professionals want AI assistance with include reminders of projects or appointments (46%), help with research on a work topic (36%) and searches of electronic documents for information (30%).

However, just 16% are willing to use AI for suggestions on written content or creative ideas; just 16% would use it for feedback on the tone or style of emails and longer documents; and only 10% would welcome advice from AI on how to grow their professional network.

Almost nine out of 10 respondents (87%) expect their job to change in the next five years due to advances in technology. However, more than two thirds (68%) believe their existing role will continue to require human capabilities that can’t be replaced by technology.

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