AI to save professionals 12 hours weekly, boost productivity

AI's rise is predicted to transform work, enhancing innovation, job growth, and efficiency across various sectors

AI to save professionals 12 hours weekly, boost productivity

Thomson Reuters has released its 2024 Future of Professionals report, which surveyed over 2,200 professionals in the legal, tax, and risk and compliance fields worldwide.   

Respondents predict that artificial intelligence (AI) could save them 12 hours per week within the next five years and four hours per week over the coming year, amounting to 200 hours annually.  

This potential timesaving is equivalent to adding an extra colleague for every 10 team members, offering immense economic opportunities across various professions. For instance, a US lawyer could see an estimated $100,000 in additional billable hours.   

The increasing interest in AI is a significant driver of innovation across industries. Seventy-seven percent of professionals now believe AI will have a high or transformational impact on their work over the next five years, a 10 percent increase from last year.  

Furthermore, 79 percent expect their companies to experience increased innovation.   

“Professionals no longer need to speculate about AI's potential impact as they now see its effects firsthand. Looking ahead, AI-empowered professionals and their companies will outpace those who resist this transformative era,” said Steve Hasker, president and CEO of Thomson Reuters.    

This year's study highlights the strong enthusiasm professionals have for AI. Generative AI (GenAI) solutions for the legal, tax, and risk and compliance sectors are among the most widely adopted professional-grade AI applications.  

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed already use AI-powered technologies for tasks like research, summarization, and drafting.   

The report's findings focus on three main themes: productivity, responsibility, and value. AI is seen as a key driver of innovation, job growth, and improved productivity.  

Over the next five years, professionals expect AI to bring more innovation (79 percent), allow more time for engaging, judgment-based work (66 percent), provide greater opportunities for continual skill building (57 percent), and improve work-life balance (51 percent).  

Fifty percent of law firm respondents identified AI as a top strategic priority for the next 18 months, edging out productivity (49 percent). Corporate C-suite respondents believe AI will have the biggest impact on operational strategy (59 percent), product/service strategy (53 percent), and talent strategy (40 percent).   

While 63 percent of respondents use AI-powered technologies, 37 percent have not yet adopted the technology in their work. The primary reasons include uncertainty about the types of work AI can assist with (35 percent) and how to access it (28 percent).  

Most professionals (95 percent) agree that allowing AI to represent clients in court or make final decisions on complex matters is a step too far. However, they are more comfortable with AI drafting basic documents, conducting research and analysis, and handling administrative tasks.  

A majority (57 percent) support certification processes for AI systems, and 55 percent believe professional, or industry bodies should develop these standards.   

Respondents identified the rise of AI and GenAI as having the greatest impact over the next five years, with 77 percent predicting a high or transformational impact, followed by the explosion in data volumes (59 percent).  

Professionals view AI as a “force for good” (78 percent), recognizing its potential to enhance efficiency and bring new value to their work. With widespread adoption, AI could drive significant innovation, improve work-life balance, and provide substantial economic benefits over the next five years.