The impact of IA and IT on the stress of workers

The impact of IA and IT on the stress of workers

Newer technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) is still developing and disseminating quickly (Bughin and Hazan 2017), but how are these factors likely to change work styles and the well being of workers? AI will deprive and pose a threat to employees more than a few observators believe. New IT technology like AI can, however, not only affect employees and wages, but also the approach of the workers to their employment and can influence welfare aspects like job satisfaction, stress and health in a variety of ways.

The Relationship between technological innovation, employment, and wages

Economics have raised the possibility of “technological unemployment” ever since the Industrial Revolution, whereby jobs are lost because of technological innovation. Since the 1980’s, findings from extensive workplace economists have shown that the development of’ technological change based on skills,’ whose advantages are only for highly skilled workers, causes wage disparity to increase. In recent years, new information technology such as AI has been projected to deprive a lot of workers of their jobs and result in even more severe wage disparities.

Technological innovation does not have an impact limited to jobs, jobs and wages. They affect a broader range of issues, including the nature of the workforce, the environment, job satisfaction, stress and health. As new information technologies can be used for a wide range of tasks, both positive and negative impacts should be achieved in many directions.

To Increased job satisfaction and stress caused by the diffusion of new information technologies

We carried out an original survey of around 10,000 employees and we analyzed the impact of new information technology on work approaches and on well-being as a project of the Researchinstitute of Science and Technology for a Socience (RISPEX) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency. Interestingly, the more new information techniques such as AI are adopted, the greater the worker satisfaction. as shown in Figure 1. Conversely, a tendency is also increasing for work-related stress.

Note: These are the collected answers to the question of how much change (or how much change is expected) occurred due to the introduction of new information technologies in the tasks and well-being. Source: JST-RISTEX Planned 2017 Fiscal Survey Report (Checkpoint: Isamu Yamamoto)

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Increasing task complexity

This finding is probably linked to the effect on the nature of the tasks employed by employees by new information technologies. In Figure 1 the greater the decline in the nature of the tasks carried out by the worker, from highly repetitive routine tasks to non-routinal tasks requiring complex solution, the greater the number of information technologies adopted. In the case of the adoption of AI technologies, workers tend to move away from tasks that can be performed by AI and use time to focus on complex tasks that only people can perform.

We understand that as a consequence of increased task complexity, many of those employees who have experienced new information technologies have a feeling of work-related stress. At the same time, the more complex the work, the greater the sense of satisfaction, which results in an increasing job satisfaction trend. AI technologies have a complex influence on welfare and work approaches. Therefore, the changes caused by the emergence and subsequent dissemination of technological innovation must be further analyzed.

The Job demands-resources model

The spread of new IT technology can have positive effects, such as an increase in employment satisfaction, but it can also lead to negative effects, such as stress increase. This problem needs to be addressed, of course. It is necessary. In such cases, a helpful insight is provided by the’ employee requirements-resources model’ developed in occupational health studies. According to this model, the worker’s stress increases as employment requirements are higher, while stress decreases if the workers are provided with more resources to handle their work demand.

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The number and difficulty of tasks may include “job requests.” In order to meet the needs of the employee, we need to develop new skills and knowledge to cater for the new tasks, thanks to the introduction of new information technology. In other words, the above stress increase can be understood by the introduction of new information technology as an increase in the demands for jobs.

On the other hand,’ employment resources’ include a range of factors such as supporting and leading management, support and trust relations with employees and efforts made by the management of human resources. Theory suggests that there are a variety of measures and methods to strengthen these resources at company, employment, individual and other levels (Shaufeli et al. 2009, Shimazu and Shaufeli 2009).

‘Job resources’ mitigate increases in stress

At the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI), we examined the nature of the impact of work resources on worker stress and mental health. In the panell data, the factors such as clear-case working objectives, allowable level of individual discretion, low levels of non-scheduled work, a workplace culture which does not expect long work hours by default, volume of communication between line managers and subordinate staff, and the capacity level of line managers, for instance (2018a, 2018b, 2016) and Sato (2015) showed that and other attributes of each individual. These are precisely what ‘ employment resources ‘ can be considered.

Since new IT technologies like AI have a positive impact on work approach and the well-being of the individual, it seems reasonable to make the most of those advantages possible. Negative side effects, such as work-related stress increases and health deterioration, can also occur. Maximizing the benefit of new information technology positive aspects requires strengthening employment resources and a minimisation of adverse repercussions.

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