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According to an online survey conducted by Microsoft and LinkedIn, approximately 75% of knowledge workers worldwide are using generative AI. However, this is often happening without the knowledge of their management.

For the Work Trend Index 2024, Microsoft and LinkedIn surveyed 31,000 full-time and freelance knowledge workers in 31 countries this spring. The 20-minute online survey, conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence, was conducted in English or the local language.

Three-quarters of respondents have worked with generative AI, with nearly half using it for less than six months. 78% of AI users bring their own AI tools to work (Bring Your Own AI, BYOAI). In small and midsize businesses, this figure is as high as 80%. According to Microsoft, BYOAI is happening across all generations.

Microsoft categorized study participants as skeptics, novices, explorers, and power users. Power users reported the greatest gains in creativity, productivity, and ability to focus on important tasks. | Image: Microsoft

Half of employees hide their use of AI

52% of AI users are reluctant to admit that they use AI for their primary tasks. 53% are afraid of appearing replaceable by using AI. Without guidance from the top, many employees are keeping their use of AI a secret, the study found.

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The study also looked at why employees are using AI: 68% feel overwhelmed by the pace and volume of work, while 46% are burned out. Work time continues to shift toward communication rather than creation. According to Microsoft, users spend 60% of their time on Outlook, Teams, and similar tools, but only 40% on Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Executives are conflicted about the use of AI: 79% believe AI is necessary to remain competitive. However, 60% doubt that their company has a plan and vision for using AI. 59% wonder how to measure productivity gains from AI.

For Microsoft, the results fit perfectly with its sales strategy: As more employees use AI on their own, there's growing pressure on companies to adopt official AI solutions from players like Microsoft for data security and standardized AI processes. Microsoft, of course, makes this argument in its study and describes "BYOAI" as a threat to data security.

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Summary
  • Microsoft and LinkedIn conducted an online survey of 31,000 knowledge workers in 31 countries. 75 percent are already using generative AI, often without management's knowledge. 78 percent bring their own AI tools to work.
  • 52 percent of AI users are reluctant to admit that they are using AI for their core tasks. 53 percent are afraid of appearing replaceable by using AI. Many keep their use of AI secret, in part because they do not receive guidance from the top.
  • According to Microsoft, users spend 60 percent of their time on communication tools and only 40 percent on productivity applications. 79 percent of executives believe AI is necessary, but 60 percent doubt their company has a clear plan for its use.
Online journalist Matthias is the co-founder and publisher of THE DECODER. He believes that artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the relationship between humans and computers.
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