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A third of UK professionals would welcome an AI personal assistant

Just over a third of UK professionals (35 per cent) would appreciate some form of artificially intelligent personal assistant on their smartphone to help them tackle mundane everyday tasks.

That's the headline finding from a new survey commissioned by mobile workforce management firm ClickSoftware. Of course, we already have virtual assistants on smartphones capable of useful programmed responses (like Siri or Cortana), but we're talking about something more sophisticated in terms of AI that can take some basic admin tasks off an employee's shoulders.

While 35 per cent would welcome this development, another way to look at it, of course, is that 65 per cent wouldn't.

When asked whether intelligent predictive services would be able to handle 10 per cent of an employee's workload in the future, 58 per cent of respondents said they believed this would be the case.

The survey found that youngsters are more likely to be trusting of any such AI tech, with more than twice as many Millennials receptive to these sort of developments compared to those aged 55 and over. And Londoners were unsurprisingly the most supportive of the idea, with 10 per cent more than any other part of the UK being in favour – with Northern Ireland the most resistant.

Steve Mason, VP of Mobility, EMEA, at ClickSoftware, commented: "Consumers are already using simple versions of intelligent personal assistants. Very soon, we will be seeing more advanced professional applications offering advice on different aspects of our working lives – from route planning, to appointment booking, even suggesting places to eat based on current locations or our past habits."

Of course, one major concern is that robots or AI tech could eventually end up taking over jobs (see: The robots are coming: They're dangerous, and they'll steal your jobs).

On this topic, Mason noted: "While there is still, naturally, a hesitancy towards the concept of smart assistants or AI, these applications are simply a way of helping staff rather than replacing them. None of us like doing admin, and often waste time putting it off, so businesses now have the opportunity to take away one of the least productive parts of our working day so employees can focus on more meaningful tasks."