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Charted: Changing Sentiments Towards AI in the Workplace

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A series of charts measuring how people feel about having AI in the workplace.

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Is generative AI the catalyst for the next industrial revolution? Or is it a flash in the pan? Is the entire workforce destined to become AI makers and managers?

It’s possible that one, all, or none of these options could be correct. But despite how fast large language models (LLMs) and tools have grown the popularity of artificial intelligence, one thing that is clear is that there are no quick or easy answers.

Amidst all this uncertainty, opinions on how we use AI in the workplace have evolved. Recent survey data from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reveals how the labor force feels about AI in the workplace today, compared to how they felt five years ago.

The consultancy surveyed 13,000 people (C-suite leaders, managers, and frontline employees) in 18 different countries for the results, and divided their top two responses into five categories: Curiosity, Optimism, Concern, Confidence, and Indifference.

ℹ️ Data note: Since the top two feelings were selected and categorized per question, the percentages across categories do not total to 100%.

More Optimism, Less Caution Around AI

General curiosity about AI remains almost unchanged (at 60%) since 2018.

Meanwhile, despite how rapidly AI has advanced in the last five years, or perhaps because of it, more than 50% of workers surveyed are optimistic about AI’s impact on work, a 17 percentage point (p.p.) increase from 2018.

And though 30% remain concerned about AI, this fell 10 p.p. over the same time period.

Sentiment towards AI20182023
Curiosity60%61%
Optimism35%52%
Concern40%30%
Confidence17%26%
Indifference21%14%

Clearly, respondents perceive AI in the workplace far more positively now than they did in 2018. But that’s not all. The respondents’ confidence in how AI can influence their work has also increased (+5 p.p.) and indifference towards it has shrunk significantly (-7 p.p.).

Given the explosive growth in generative AI since the end of 2022—ChatGPT gets 1.8 billion visitors a month—it’s not surprising that workers are far more aware of AI compared to just five years ago.

Optimistic Leaders, Cautious Employees

As with any survey data, the devil is in the details. BCG notes that the sentiments between rungs on the company ladder differ sharply around AI.

A series of charts measuring how different positions in a company feel about having AI in the workplace.

While two-thirds of polled leaders are optimistic about AI in 2023, less than half of polled frontline employees shared the same sentiment. Frontline employees were also the biggest group that responded with concern (nearly 40%).

Importantly, frontline employees are almost as optimistic as they are concerned about AI in the workplace.

PositionOptimismConcern
Leaders62%22%
Managers54%28%
Frontline Employees42%39%

Managers were closer to leaders in their AI optimism, though some experts believe their jobs might actually be the most at risk of being replaced all together.

More Use, More Optimism Around AI

With ChatGPT reaching 100 million active users just two months after launching, it’s clear that more and more people are experimenting with generative AI.

In BCG’s poll, regular AI users—categorized as people who use it at least once a week for work—are nearly three times more optimistic than concerned about AI’s impact on their work in 2023.

AI Use LevelOptimismConcern
Regular62%22%
Rare55%27%
None36%42%

Even rare users are two times more optimistic than cautious, with the non-user category registering the most concern.

Which brings us to who these regular users are.

A series of charts measuring how people who use AI are more optimistic and less concerned about having AI in the workplace.

A staggering 80% of the leaders polled say they’re already regular users of AI, compared to 46% managers and 20% frontline employees.

While eyebrow-raising, these figures are not surprising.

People in leadership positions tend to have a mandate to stay ahead of the curve on current business trends, and along with their less strictly defined roles, have more freedom to try, use, and adopt AI tools while they formulate policies for their workplace.

PositionRegular UserRare UserNonuser
Leaders80%12%8%
Managers46%23%31%
Frontline Employees20%20%60%

At the same time, AI tools may not be green-lit en masse in many workplaces yet, preventing frontline employees from giving them a go.

So Is AI Coming For Jobs or Not?

Regardless of how definitively one can make a claim about artificial intelligence taking away people’s jobs, the survey respondents were unanimous that AI in the workplace will have some kind of an impact on their employment.

Pie charts showing how a vast majority of survey responders want upskilling to dealing with AI in the workplace.

Slightly more than one-third felt that their job is in jeopardy as of 2023, while an overwhelming 86% polled said they needed training to adapt to how AI will transform their work.

With how fast the field is currently transforming, upskilling could be the safest path to follow as the AI revolution unfolds.

Where Does This Data Come From?

Source: The AI at Work: What People Are Saying report from the Boston Consulting Group.

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Visualizing Microsoft’s Revenue, by Product Line

This graphic breaks down Microsoft’s revenue by segment—from cloud office software to AI search engine capabilities in 2023.

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Visualizing Microsoft’s Revenue, by Product Line

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Over the last decade, Microsoft’s revenue has more than doubled, driven by key product lines like its intelligent cloud infrastructure.

Adding to this, Microsoft launched its AI-enabled search engine, Copilot last year, which has already generated $12 billion for the company. Beyond this search engine, Microsoft is developing a range of AI-based services, such as Azure Arc, a cloud computing platform with 18,000 customers.

This graphic breaks down Microsoft’s revenue in 2023, based on data from Affinity powered by Syntax.

Microsoft’s Most Lucrative Business Segments

In 2023, Microsoft revenues soared to a record $211 billion as demand for AI services accelerated.

As one of the world’s largest companies by market cap, Microsoft reached a $2.8 trillion valuation as investors flocked to big tech and AI-related stocks last year. Amid strong growth, here’s how much revenue was generated from Microsoft’s product lines in 2023:

Product LIneFY2023 Revenue Share of Revenue
Cloud Computing Services$80B38%
Cloud Office Suite Software$49B23%
Operating Systems$22B10%
Gaming Consoles$15B7%
Employment Listing Platform$15B7%
AI-Enabled Search Engine$12B6%
Other$19B9%
Total Revenue$211B100%

Comprising 38% of total revenues in 2023, Microsoft’s cloud computing services segment earns more than any other by a long shot.

These intelligent cloud services provide the servers, storage, and data centers that enable businesses to run websites and other computing services without the need for buying individual hardware and software.

The second-highest revenue driver was cloud office suite software, with sales of Microsoft 365 bringing in $49 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s gaming consoles segment pulled in $15 billion in one of its best years ever. In 2023, the company acquired Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, known for World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. It was the company’s biggest acquisition in its history.

Falling after gaming revenues is Copilot, its AI-enabled search engine, making up 6% of 2023 revenues. This productivity tool can be embedded into Microsoft 365, allowing companies to use natural language prompts to gain data on their company, summarize insights from meetings, and a host of other functions.

As AI-related services continue to gain momentum, it remains to be seen whether Microsft’s revenue will continue to see strong growth. So far, investor optimism has remained elevated.

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