There’s a common fear amongst all of us that, one day, robots will take over our lives and the human race will be left jobless. Of course, there is no denying that use of artificial intelligence (AI) is on the rise and for most of us it’s already touching our day-to-day lives, but what impact could the technology really have on the future of work and should we feel threatened?
In this blog, we address some of the possible consequences of AI on our working lives and what the future of work could look like.
Enhanced candidate and employee experience
It’s expected that by 2022, one in five workers will have an AI-powered co-worker, as businesses seek to optimise workflows and create a best-in-class experience for their employees and prospective employees.
Some organisations are already adopting AI to make deeper connections with candidates and employees. For example, hospitality leader, Marriott International, has implemented an AI-powered chatbot for Facebook Messenger that creates a personalised experience for job seekers, guiding them to open jobs and conversing with candidates much like a human recruiter. While this supports candidates, it also benefits in-house recruiters by removing some of their administrative workload.
Other businesses like LinkedIn, are equipping their employees with new skills and knowledge surrounding AI, to enhance both their experience and customer experience hand-in-hand. The recently announced LinkedIn AI Academy gives workers across the company the opportunity to expand their understanding of AI through deep-dive classes, apprenticeships and training courses, so they can help deliver impactful AI experiences to members. It’s programmes like this that will give employees confidence in AI, so they don’t fear it as roles evolve.
Creation of new jobs
Although AI will certainly displace some jobs, speaking at the recent Digital Business World Congress 2018, Thulium’s CEO Tamara McCleary highlighted that 85 per cent of the jobs in 2030 have not even been created yet.
In the past, we have already seen the demise of jobs like milkmen, switchboard operators, bowling alley pinsetters and more, but in turn, we have seen new roles like app developers, social media managers and data scientists make an appearance in the job market. This has mainly been due to the evolution of technology, and the impact of AI will follow the same principle.
While AI-powered chatbots might replace current customer service representatives, we will need ‘trainers’ for these chatbots to help them understand the human language and inject emotional intelligence into their responses and ‘explainers’ to bridge the gap between the systems and their human managers.
This is just one of the many examples of how AI might displace one role, but see another emerge. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2020 AI will produce more jobs than it displaces.
Redefining the concept of “work”
As AI allows us to become more productive and fewer people go out to undertake work as we know it, it will become necessary to redefine the concept of working altogether.
Today we think of working as going out to earn an income in an office environment or by carrying out labour, but in the future, we should start to consider volunteering, parenting, mentoring and even leisure time as work too.
In particular, governments might need to expand the definition of work to ensure that healthcare and retirement contributions are provided to those working in non-traditional ways as AI takes over present-day roles and there is less requirement to fulfil a traditional working role.
So, what does all this mean for our future?
In summary, we’re not wrong to believe that AI is going to drastically change the future of work, but it’s not necessarily going to be for the worse. It will help simplify roles to enhance experiences at work and give us new opportunities to transform our roles or fulfill exciting new ones which haven’t even been created yet. So, to answer the earlier question of whether we should be threatened by AI, we don’t think so!
Plus, as more businesses look to transform with AI, service providers and developers like you will have further opportunities to support organisations with AI and cognitive solutions. You can already start to capitalise on the growing demand, at zero cost to your business, by signing up to a 12-month free trial of Watson Assistant.
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