That’s according to a survey conducted by Oliver Wyman…

It doesn’t count the staples from a borrowed stapler; has no children it can bombard you with inane pictures of by the water cooler; it doesn’t incessantly hum the same three bars of Shakira’s most prolific musical earworm Waka Waka; has no prior history of milk theft charges; you don’t have to fight with it over the air conditioning thermostat; at the time of writing the latest generation of AI operating systems doesn’t include the ability to microwave fish in the break room; and it won’t throw you under the bus in a passive-aggressive email chain. Probably. Yet.


It’s easy to see why the idea of AI, as a colleague in the modern workplace, is so appealing. Beyond the points mentioned above – its core value is often as a labour-saving tool, productivity enhancer, a fixer or even, increasingly, a muse for creativity. A 9-to-5 butler, ethical indentured servitude, what’s not to love? But we’re not at the stage where we’re ready to swap out our flesh and blood workmates for algorithms and the singularity overlord just yet are we?

Interestingly, in the UAE, the answer for a considerable swathe of the workforce seems to be a tepid ‘yes’. A report published earlier this year by global management consulting firm (and business arm of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC)), Oliver Wyman revealed some very interesting country-specific (alongside global) trends for the use of AI in the workplace.

No pAIn no gAIn

The report is based on a Generative AI Survey, carried out by the Oliver Wyman Forum in October and November 2023, posing questions to more than 12,000 employees in 16 different countries.

One of the most startling statistics from the regionally relevant section of the report reads “more than half of UAE employees (52 per cent) say they would prefer working with an AI colleague over a human one”. Charming.

Hard reboot

This use of AI in the corporate sphere is a bit of a double-edged motherboard though, the same survey recorded that “25 per cent of UAE employees report they are job-seeking due to AI disruption”.

Uptake in AI services is high here, with 74 per cent of UAE employees using AI at work on average every week, with 84 per cent of staff currently receiving training in AI. Well above the survey’s global average of 64 per cent.

But there are other potential, less obvious pitfalls highlighted by the report too. It’s believed that from the pool of UAE employees using AI, 94 per cent of them are risking exposing proprietary data by operating public Generative AI tools.

Talking about the findings, Jad Haddad, Head of Digital IMEA, Oliver Wyman said: “With the UAE taking a leadership position in AI, it is vital for employers to keep pace with the technology and understand exactly how it impacts their company, and how to best integrate it into their processes and practices.”

“This research underscores the readiness of employees to utilize AI, while also alerting employers of the need to take control of the situation to ensure AI works for their organization, and by extension for employees, customers, and for society as a whole.”

Images: Getty