Saturday, 20th July 2019

Belgian workplaces use AI more than neighbouring countries

Survey results of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Ipsos show that Belgians are “AI-optimists”. More than any of the neighboring countries, Belgians are using AI at work, as well as having a more positive perception of AI.

54% of Belgians will work with AI 2 years from now

Together with Ipsos, BCG conducted market research into the state of the art regarding AI in our country. Apparently, over 1 out of 2 Belgians (54%) are already facing the introduction of AI or robots in the workplace now or in the 2 years to come. That is more than our neighbouring countries France (44%), Germany (45%) or the UK (47%).

Almost a quarter of Belgian workers (24%) already uses AI-based applications at work – a percentage that is equally above the ones in France (16%), Germany (15%) or the UK (20%).

Stefan Dab, Managing Partner at BCG Brussels: “These results are encouraging – even if the numbers remain low. They show how Belgian companies have taken a head start, enabling them to seize pole position in Europe when it comes to leveraging the advantages offered by AI and robotization.”

A mixed image

The results of the survey paint a mixed picture. On the one hand, AI is already present in companies: 24% indicates that AI is already being used in their organization – regardless of gender, age or function level.

Because it also shows a more subjective perception of AI: Belgian employees remain doubtful in the face of the changes brought by this new technology. 2 out of 3 Belgians are curious about the possibilities of artificial intelligence, yet 1 out of 2 mention worries about possible consequences. Almost 3 out of 10 Belgians believe that the breakthrough of AI will have nothing but positive consequences

Stefan Dab: “The survey results on perception reflect the mixed feelings of Belgian employees. As we are talking about a new phenomenon, this is not entirely surprising. Our main takeaway should be that we should work to increase knowledge of artificial intelligence in Belgium, for example by increasing publicity and making positive use cases more visible.”

Benefits of AI: more effectiveness at work, more growth for companies

Among those working already with AI, the benefits are well known. More than 6 out of 10 employees working with AI (62%) experience a positive effect on their effectiveness at work. At the same time, a similar number (60%) indicated that they obtained better results thanks to AI. A little over half (55%) pointed to AI as a means to better organize their work.

Above percentages showed no differences based on gender, age or function level. Consequently, there is no basis to conclude there would be anything like an “AI gap” between groups.

When asked about the positive effects for their company or organization, almost 7 out of 10 employees (68%) indicated they expected AI to lead to increased business growth.

Less jobs, more job security

An equally striking number is that over half (53%) of the surveyed believes that AI won’t negatively impact their own job security. At the same time, 7 out of 10 (70%) do not believe that the decreased workload will eventually lead to loss of jobs.

Belgians also see risks such as increased inequality between privileged and underprivileged groups. At the same time, 25% believe that discrimination between men and women will decrease thanks to AI.

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