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TLDR: Nope. Sorry, problems with work are bigger than even AI's capabilities.

Microsoft dropped it's latest piece of research called the 2023 Work Trend Index: Annual Report, on May 9th entitled "Will AI Fix Work?" in which it details how indeed AI will fix work. Well, Microsoft AI will fix work. 

I recognize Microsoft is in the business of selling software and services, so any "research" is going to be done with a view to promoting their own viewpoint. And I'm guessing most critical readers know to be a bit skeptical when looking at any of their findings (ie. data tortured long enough will tell you any story you want).

But let's go back to the "Fix Work" part and leave AI aside for a moment. From their perspective ineffective meetings are the biggest problem that need to be fixed. 

Screenshot 2023-05-24 at 12.45.46 PM

And its a problem that has been well researched and documented since the early 2000's. In fact, a Microsoft Personal Productivity Survey from 2005 suggested 50% of all meetings were considered time wasted by employees. So even their technology so far has done little to address this problem. Perhaps AI is the technology to vanquish this finally?

But just because Microsoft says it's the big problem at work, doesn't make it so. Even 10 year-old surveys like this one are more in tune with what drives productivity and performance at work.


What we consider to be the most comprehensive and rigorous research on enterprise performance by Scott Keller and Bill Shaninger - for their books Beyond Performance, and Beyond Performance 2.0 - suggests that for organizations to deliver the magic mix of Performance and Health for both employees and the company, means “Having six or more top-quartile practices yields an 80% likelihood of being in the top quartile for health overall” out of these 37 practices:


This data is derived from over five million Organizational Health Index survey responders from more than 2,000 organization across the globe, which shows the balance of Performance (what an enterprise does to deliver to its stakeholders in financial and operational terms) and Health (how effectively an organization works together to in pursuit of a common goal) provides the foundation for unleashing human potential at work (ie. fixing work).

Organizations that meet those six or more top-quartile thresholds deliver 3x the shareholder returns, and 2.5x better return on invested capital compared to the bottom third of companies.

So, while I'm bullish on the possibilities for AI to be very positive in the workplace, I think it may be a stretch to say it's going to "Fix Work."



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