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AI set to save professionals 12 hours per week by 2029

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AI set to save professionals 12 hours per week by 2029

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AI will boost productivity, saving professionals 12 hours weekly by 2029, enhancing innovation and growth

Thomson Reuters has released its 2024 Future of Professionals report, revealing that AI is expected to save professionals up to 12 hours per week by 2029. This annual survey of over 2,200 professionals from legal, tax, and risk & compliance sectors indicates a significant positive impact on productivity, innovation, and work-life balance.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Time Savings: Respondents predict AI will free up 12 hours per week within five years, with four hours saved weekly in the next year alone. For U.S. lawyers, this could translate to an additional $100,000 in billable hours annually.

  • Positive AI Impact: 77% of professionals believe AI will have a high or transformational impact on their work over the next five years, and 78% see AI as a “force for good” in their profession. Currently, 37% have not yet used GenAI in their work.

  • Innovation Catalyst: 79% of professionals expect AI to drive significant or moderate innovation within their companies. They also anticipate that 56% of their work will utilise new AI-powered technology over the next five years.

  • AI Standards: 57% of professionals believe certification processes for AI systems should be introduced, and 55% support industry-specific standards.

Steve Hasker, President and CEO of Thomson Reuters, emphasised the transformative potential of AI: “Professionals no longer need to speculate on AI’s impact as they witness its effects firsthand. AI-empowered professionals will outpace those who resist this transformative era. With AI predicted to save up to 200 hours annually, the potential economic impact is significant.”

The report also highlights the need for responsible AI use, with nearly two-thirds of professionals stressing the importance of human oversight. While the majority are comfortable with AI drafting documents, conducting research, and performing administrative tasks, 95% believe it is inappropriate for AI to represent clients in court or make final decisions on complex legal and compliance matters.

Productivity Gains

Professionals expect AI to significantly enhance innovation (79%), allow more time for judgment-based work (66%), provide opportunities for skill-building (57%), and improve work-life balance (51%). AI has been identified as a top strategic priority for law firms, with 50% including it in their top five strategic focuses.

Responsible AI Usage

Despite widespread adoption, 37% of professionals have not yet tried AI in their work. Concerns include uncertainty about appropriate use cases (35%) and access methods (28%). There is a strong call for responsible AI usage, with the majority supporting certification processes and industry standards.

AI’s Transformative Potential

AI and data are seen as the most impactful trends for the next five years, with 77% predicting a high or transformational impact from AI and GenAI. Professionals view AI as a positive force that will drive significant innovation, improve work-life balance, and provide substantial economic benefits.

Methodology

The survey was conducted in April and May 2024, with over 2,200 professionals from legal, tax, and risk & compliance fields participating. Respondents were primarily from the U.S., UK, Canada, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand, with a significant representation of Millennials, followed by Gen X, Baby Boomers, Gen Z, and a few from the Silent Generation.

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