Vice Provost Dr. Marc Booker shares insights and guidance to address concerns and encourage responsible use in media tour on survey findings
University of Phoenix is sharing insights from a survey on artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education and the workplace which found that nearly 3 in 5 U.S. adults believe AI tools should be leveraged in workplace (59%) and classroom settings (57%). As a higher education institution focused on serving working adults, University of Phoenix commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct a study of more than 2,000 U.S. adults to better understand perceptions of artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education and the workforce as well as opportunities for increasing awareness and responsible use.
“At University of Phoenix, we see AI like any other new tool that has entered the arena of advancing knowledge acquisition with the ability to enhance a student’s access to data and information to gain comprehension and competency more quickly. AI tools have the potential to do great good in the realm of distance education and online learning to create engaging learning experiences,” shares Marc Booker, Ph.D., vice provost of Strategy. “We activated this survey so that we could better understand perceptions of AI and consider how to develop a deeper understanding and provide guidance on responsible use in higher education and in the workplace.”
The survey found that the majority of U.S. adults – including Generation Z – are not familiar with various types of AI models. Only around a quarter of adults say they are very or somewhat familiar with generative AI (26%) or machine learning (24%). Despite lack of familiarity with specific types of AI models, more than 3 in 5 adults (63%) say they are interested in reading, hearing, or seeing information on the topic of AI. AI tools are already interwoven into daily lives from using map applications for driving recommendations to type-ahead suggestions for messaging on smartphones. But in this survey more than half of Americans say have either never purposefully (38%) or are not sure (14%) if they have ever engaged with AI.
The survey found that accessing AI appears to evoke similar proportions of negative (43%) and positive feelings (37%). Perhaps this is because Americans are generally satisfied with the amount of information they can access about AI, but are unsure about the accuracy of that information, or what AI means and can encompass.
The survey also found that while some believe jobs could be replaced by AI tools, AI is not viewed as a threat by the majority. When thinking about AI in the workplace, U.S. adults believe about 36% (on average) of jobs could be replaced by AI tools. Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) say more than 50% of jobs could be replaced.
However, instead of taking away their job, when Americans think of AI being integrated into their work life, nearly half of employed adults (47%) say they see AI as something that can complement them in their job and make things easier for them.
“AI tools require individuals to develop skills and awareness in order to manage it effectively. We should think of AI as a co-pilot that can make your work easier, rather than a pilot that will fly the plane all on its own,” states Booker. “AI is not perfect, and we need people to monitor and correct the output of AI tools as it evolves. Because AI is constantly evolving, it important to have adaptable and skilled employees with a broad understanding of multiple topic areas to appropriately handle the changes that AI will bring.”
According to the 2023 Career Optimism Index® study by the University of Phoenix Career Institute®, 75 percent of Americans say they are seeking skills development opportunities or certifications, and 70 percent say if their companies gave them more opportunities to apply new skills, they would be more likely to stay throughout their career.
“A measured approach to AI not only helps organizations become more effective by not putting their chips all in too early on AI but will also help facilitate better outcomes and acceptance of AI in the workplace as workers see the benefit of these tools impacting their performance and job requirements by giving them more time to focus on value-add activities,” Booker shares.
The study was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of the University of Phoenix from July 12-14, 2023, among 2,045 adults ages 18 and older. Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, household income and propensity to be online, to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.
As Vice Provost for Strategy at the University of Phoenix, Dr. Booker oversees critical path academic initiatives and technology innovations, including AI, to improve the student experience such as learning platform implementations, curricular enhancements, developing innovative academic program designs, and creating empathetic solutions to drive improved student outcomes. He shared survey insights during a virtual media tour on September 7, speaking with more than 20 media outlets across the U.S.
For more information, review the survey report here.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit phoenix.edu.