What to Expect from the AI Shift in the Workplace
Movies are full of robots and artificial intelligence taking over workplaces and rendering humans useless. Is that an actual fear? Do we need to worry about AI in the workplace? How can we prepare for changes that will inevitably come?
We’ve been using AI for some time now and it is expanding and improving, just like it was always intended to. Not surprisingly, artificial intelligence is making a splash in the world of economy and is changing the way we work. It’s estimated that 37% of organizations are already using AI solutions, which is a drastic leap from just a few years ago. It’s expected that these numbers will only continue to grow rapidly over the coming years.
If you have a company that you want to keep competitive, you probably need AI at some point soon. This is one of the many reasons you will find companies incorporate artificial intelligence into their world.
The changes based around AI are not surprising. The workforce has already changed drastically in the past 100 years and it continues to do so. Most people feel that we’ll create a good balance between AI and human workers, making it a better all-around option for the world.
To further support the idea that AI in the workplace is a positive thing, we can look at companies that have already made the changes. For example, most organizations are already shifting their workforce and responsibilities. A whopping 71% have already changed things up a bit, and 82% feel that there will be significant changes in the coming years.
Is AI a Threat to the Workforce?
The biggest fear people have when thinking about artificial intelligence in the workplace is the fact that people could be laid off over it all. This is what most are terrified of and they worry that eventually, computers will just take over, leaving humans to fend for themselves with menial tasks. However, evidence indicates otherwise.
According to one survey, 66% of respondents wanted to automate as many jobs as possible to reduce overall costs. This seems to reinforce the fears that many people have, but when the same people were further questioned, they didn’t tend to feel that cutting jobs was the primary aim of using AI. Instead, they felt that AI technology was there to aid employees in making more intelligent decisions.
A good 75% of these survey respondents also felt the AI is a good way to work with humans and to encourage better work values and new methods of working overall. 70% felt that artificial intelligence helps boost employee satisfaction, which also increases job performance.
The Future of AI
Overall, it seems that AI is meant to eliminate the need for humans to focus on lower level or repetitive tasks. Instead, those same employees will be free to pursue the more creative aspects of their work, which is often beyond a computer, no matter how intelligent.
The fact remains that humans are simply better at some things than a machine. For example, empathy is only felt by humans and most communication is best done by humans, as well. Judgement and interpretation are two more areas that AI doesn’t excel in and these would be moved to human employees who would be better able to manage them. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence could easily handle the decisions where efficiency or risk assessment is more valuable. After all, the computer doesn’t have the emotional aspects that can make these sorts of decisions biased.
Where AI Is Already Making Changes
Artificial intelligence has already taken over some of the more mundane tasks out there, but it has also been used to enhance services and products. For example, streaming video services use AI to provide more tailored selections for people. The system learns based on what you choose and then begins to suggest what would work best for you.
In the case of TiVo, a machine learning platform is involved in detecting, classifying, aggregating, and routing IT incidents, which means there are far fewer incidents that need actual humans to work on them. This also provides faster, simpler service to the end user.
AI is often used for the more repetitive tasks that are not favored by humans. In areas where crunching numbers and analyzing data is necessary, computers tend to do this better than people. However, the end decision is usually made by a person. In the case of a doctor, for example, an AI can examine test results and come up with possible health problems to match, but in the end, it’s the doctor who will determine what the problem is and how to resolve it.
Preparing the Workforce for AI
There is no question that AI in the workforce is inevitable. That doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it, however. It’s essential to educate people on what AI is capable of, just as much as it is to educate on what it can’t do. Once people understand just how useful artificial intelligence can be, they’ll feel more secure in their places.
Change is always nerve-wracking and those in lower-level jobs, where there isn’t as much training and education necessary, may feel threatened. That’s why education is so very important. You can make sure everyone understands that this is about enhancing work and making it better for all than simply getting rid of jobs.
Humans will always have a place in the workforce. That’s something that no one can eliminate completely. While AI could be used to reduce some jobs, people will still be necessary. That means that AI is just likely to be used to augment the human employees, rather than replace them. The end result is likely to be people working more on creative efforts and high value areas of their job, leaving the computer to manage the less interesting aspects.