AI’s potential in changing the workforce

Talking about the future without artificial intelligence is impossible.

After the paradigm-shift in our work culture due to Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) transforming everyday devices into smarter ones, AI is now making analytics even more efficient and productive.

Data volumes are exploding and there is more data created in the past two years than in the entire history of the human race. By 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.

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The human workforce will not be exempt from this seismic wave. So what practical changes are we expecting in the coming years? Will AI actually replace the human workforce? Alternatively, will AI rule us like depicted in major science fiction movies?

It is too early to judge.

“By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.” —Eliezer Yudkowsky

When you keep the hype aside and drill down to the benefits of AI and augmented reality, you’ll see that these technologies are already making an advancement in the workplace and many organizations are excited about it. The Human Resources Professionals Association concluded that 84% of employees believe that AI is a new recruiting mechanism for them.

How AI is Transforming the Workplace

AI can make the most mundane and predictable tasks across the organization easier and will end up freeing people in IT, marketing, and HR to solve complex problems and take impactful decisions.

Inventions like Chatbots, digital assistants, AI service desks, Skype Translators and more are making administrative tasks hassle-free today.

With a doubt, AI needs trillions of data to perform human-like tasks. To feed heaps of information and create logic between each dataset definitely requires a human analyst. With all available data, the human analyst can make sense of AI results to isolate trends, uncover insights, segment data, understand anomalies, and create detailed reports in a much easier manner.

The Deloitte 2018 Human Capital Trend concluded that the adoption of robotics, automation, and AI is accelerating the workforce, thus opening a new path to reimaging working models that will maximize the value of humans and machines.

According to Forbes’ survey report on job displacement, 65% of people thought that technology had increased the number of jobs and productivity at work.

With the rapid advancement in technology, computers are increasingly capturing the workforce territory that was earlier exclusively human. The progress in robotics, AI, genetics and 3D printing has enabled machines in performing the tasks of medical doctors, music composers, and architects even.

The question here is – will these feats edge us out of our jobs?

Firstly, innovations are designed to excel at specific tasks. These tasks are defined by humans itself. They will rarely eliminate an entire occupation which requires adaptability and versatility that AI does not have.

Secondly, we have already seen how IoT increased a new branch of jobs for manufacturers and IT. New technologies create new spaces to invent and thus brings in more employment in the economy.

Thirdly, just because of the talks of elimination of jobs due to technology, it does not mean that it will happen.  Various socio-political, economic, regulatory and legal factors are what cause large-scale unemployment. In 2016, out of 270 occupations listed in the US census of 1950, only one profession is eliminated by automation- that was the job of an elevator operator.

The Road to the Future with AI

New technologies demand specific skills and accelerate a shift towards more flexible work environments. With AI’s potential increasing at a faster rate, we need more employees who can work with AI. In a recent survey, 70% of CEOs are concerned about the lack of digital skills in the workforce at all levels.

Employers are looking for new talent who are AI savvy. Most employers don’t need PhDs in computer science, rather they require a human analyst at every level. Someone who can feed data and interpret AI results.

While some dramatize the negative side of cognitive computing, AI, and robotics, these tools will help boost productivity, create intelligent jobs and allow organizations to focus on tasks requiring higher creativity and business context. More importantly, automation help employees to focus on things like employee engagement, customer experience, and workplace culture.

Yes, AI is changing the dynamics of the workplace; it is making us more human.

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