Asia Pacific CEOs want to lead in Artificial Intelligence both inside and outside the company

While CEOs in Asia Pacific are proactive in recognizing the need for their leadership on automation and AI both inside and outside the company, those in Hong Kong and Japan are the least proactive in the region, according to a white paper published recently by The Economist Corporate Network (ECN).

The paper, sponsored by Hays, is based on a survey and a number of focus group interviews of CEOs and other C-suite executives based in the Asia-Pacific region.

Highlights of the survey results

  • 81% of the region’s CEOs would lead by example and automate parts of their job
  • 17% of CEOs passively manage the risks of automation and AI.
  • 42% pre-empt the risks and pursue the opportunities, 41% proactively leverage technology to shape the workplace.
  • CEOs find it difficult to clearly communicate their company’s automation and AI strategy to their employees.
  • Some countries, like China, are more advanced in their adoption of automation and AI, whereas others, like Japan, have rigid work practices that discourage workplace disruption.

CEOs in Hong Kong and Japan least proactive

CEOs based in Japan and Hong Kong are the least proactive when it comes to automation, with 38% and 33% respectively saying that their preferred strategy is to passively deal with the risks as they come, compared with 17% overall who chose the same answer.

Indonesia-based respondents are the most proactive, with 71% saying that their companies proactively leverage technology to shape tomorrow’s workplace.

Dr Florian Kohlbacher, ECN Director for North Asia, said: “We are talking too much about the potential negative impact of AI and automation on the workplace. What is needed instead is a proactive discussion on how companies can harness technology in order to strategically manage the transformation and systematically shape the workplace of the future.”

Indeed, CEOs understand that in order to make sure that the potentially negative impact from automation on employment and social security do not outweigh the benefits to productivity and value creation, they must proactively leverage technology to shape tomorrow’s workplace and work with government and other actors to lead the discussion on the broader societal, regulatory and institutional implications, he added.

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