Robotic automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are expected to define the future of work in most industries. With the rapid rise in the use of automation, robotics, computing and machine learning, it is becoming clearer that the future of workplace would have a limited number of humans at center of every operation. For most employees, robotics bring back the control into their hands. The growing role of AI-based chatbots and robotics systems is widely talked about in the society, but are these getting enough backing in the schools and colleges where students are prepared academically to meet industrial demands?
At a recent event, attendees and organizers focused on the rise of chatbots and AI in the society and how these impact workplace behaviors and efficiency. AI-powered automation has all the ingredients of transforming the modern workplace with data-enriched augmentation and job creation utilizing new AI capabilities such as generative AI. Complemented by augmented intelligence and intelligent automation, the two major branches of AI, future workplaces could see a remarkable “invasion” of automation and robotics that are not only faster in operations but also much more accurate in completing critical tasks across different departments.
Merely upgrading systems with the new fancy AI tools is not enough. Users are now familiar with challenges that AI tools bring to the table, such as biases, ethics and trustworthiness. Challenges notwithstanding, AI-driven systems are clearly winning the race in transforming the modern workplaces with agility and fundamental correction of systems that took ages to recognize and tons of paperwork to document.
With AI in the loop, all the clutter is just gone in a jiffy!
Here are some of the critical developments in modern workplaces that are emerging for companies and organizations trying to match pace with artificial intelligence.
Trend 1: Giving Importance to Robotic Quotient (RQ) at Modern Workplaces
Augmenting workers with AI skills would bring in a more scenario for global workforce management teams. In addition to tapping and promoting talent that meet Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Intelligence Quotient (IQ) standards in the industry, workers would be required to meet RQ too — this would be across the board wherever workers are interacting with autonomous and semi-autonomous systems. Having an above-average RQ would mean workers can handle robotic systems far better than those who lack RQ scores. In short, adapting to new AI trends around automation and robotics would give rise to new legion of managers called “Robot Managers.”
Trend 2: Establishing “Everyday AI” as Part of the Company Culture
Employees with AI skills would become digitally more dexterous in the current scenario where generative AI and LLMs are prized possessions. These AI improvisations would benefit skilled workers while utilizing Everyday AI for generating real-time reports, leveraging business intelligence for making real-time decisions, scaling talent management goals and securing the future of workplace with intuitive recommendations and predictions. Everyday AI that have already entered the workflow, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and remote working conditions, include chatbot-based collaboration, automated team meeting scheduling and note-taking, sales intelligence, HR automation, AI-based financial planning and marketing automation.
Organizations that manage to scale AI in their operations would thrive in the future, generating more value from their data-centric organizational culture and human resources management.
Trend 3: Who is Replacing Whom?
We have grown in an era where AI earned a kind of ugly name for itself! Job stealer, dark web artist, and deep fakes have all been flourishing because of the rampant pace at which AI developers released their products in the open market. However, the biggest threat today is not AI itself, but the shrewd, smart and out of box thinkers who understand the role of AI and are a step or two ahead of others when it comes to using Artificial Intelligence for different purposes. So in reality, it’s not AI that one should be worried about — rather, the managers who use AI that could have the biggest impact on the workplace of the future.
“AI will not replace managers, but managers that use AI will replace those that do not.”
Trend 4: AI’s Impact will be Biggest in These Sectors…
AI is already transforming the nature of work and generating tremendous revenue for some industries where customers are directly engaging with brands and organizations. Thanks to the power of internet, it is easier to understand the role of AI on economic growth. Product recommendations, conversational AI, robotic process automation for back-office processes, robo-advisors in financial services management, customer experience and service engagements in contact centers, email marketing automation, and so much more — there are winners everywhere in the landscape when we evaluate AI’s role on the industrial revolution in the modern era.
According to McKinsey, these sectors are heavily doped with opportunities arising from the implementation of AI in their operations, particularly in the way these sectors hire, retain and upskill employees for the future:
- Healthcare systems and services
- Transport and Logistics
- Automotive and assembly
- Chemicals, oil and gas
- Media and entertainment and so on
It’s true that more humans are seeking a robot’s professional advice for their next career move, making a managerial decision or for connecting with chatbots for immediate support. But, is it going to be productive in the long run?
The human participation is still critical in most jobs and activities. Differentiating between activities and jobs of the future would be extremely important in evaluating the role of AI and automation.
For example, 800 out of 2000 jobs analyzed by McKinsey could be automated. However, it would still need human expertise to train another employee, provide trustworthy feedback to a student or trainee, and interfacing with highly valuable stakeholders in the organization.
The rise of AI and automation would take away nearly 800 million jobs by 2030. A majority of these displacements would occur in developed economies — France, US and Japan, where it is easy to deploy and monitor the performance of AI-based systems. To succeed with AI and human-led operations, organizations should target upskilling and re-skilling their existing workforce to meet the ever-changing demands of the workplace environment.