ATLANTA – Employers who prioritize the health and wellbeing of employees enjoy a competitive advantage in retaining and hiring employees during what many refer to as “The Great Resignation.” Those who invest in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) see productivity gains.
However, the adoption of advanced technologies like AI can, according to a new study by Ph.D. have mixed or negative effects on worker wellbeing. Candidates Luísa Nazareno from Georgia State University and Daniel Schiff from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“Automation and AI that complement work can increase productivity, increase income, and increase the demand for a skilled workforce,” said Nazareno. “Many view this technological relationship as positive, but our research shows that it is not consistently good by multiple measures of worker wellbeing.”
Nazareno and Schiff examined the technology and wellbeing literature to conceptualize the potential impact of automation and AI in the workplace, and then used a 16-year longitudinal dataset to assess the effects on four dimensions of wellbeing: worker satisfaction, stress, Insecurity and general health.
Their results suggest that automation and AI may be associated with less stress, while having negative effects on workers’ health and mixed or negative effects on job satisfaction, associated with the loss of worker importance or increased monitoring and control automated systems can be connected.
“These results do not support the most optimistic view of the impact of technology as a complement to workers,” said Schiff. “Even the stress reliever appears to be reversing in recent years, and these effects have been concentrated on the workers at greatest risk. That requires special attention. “
The authors emphasize that these effects are neither predetermined nor independent of the working environment in which they are applied. Instead, the impact of technology on workers is influenced by aspects of the content and context of work, the decisions of managers and policymakers, and wider socio-technological and economic factors.
At the political level, “it may not be enough to educate and train workers in the hope that workers with skills that complement technology will end up doing well in the workplace,” they conclude. “Scholars will play a key role in building decision-makers’ awareness and understanding of the complexities of worker wellbeing.
“In return, managers, companies and political decision-makers can avoid assumptions of technological determinism and exercise their ability to act sensibly by shaping the working conditions, the technological introduction and the regulation of automation and AI in the interests of the well-being of employees.”