AI & The Future of Work

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AI and the Future of Work

While no one understands what artificial intelligence’s effect on work will be, we can all concur on one thing: it’s disruptive. So far, many have cast that interruption in a negative light and projected a future in which robots take responsibilities from human workers.

That’s one way to see it. Another is that automation may create more jobs than it replaces. By attempting new tools for entrepreneurs, it may also generate new lines of business that we can’t imagine now.

Gartner foretells that by 2020, AI will produce more jobs than it displaces. In addition to generating new posts, AI will also help people do their jobs better — a lot considerably. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Accenture’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Paul Daugherty, summed this concept up as, “Human plus machine equals superpowers.”

For many reasons, the positive view is likely the more realistic one. But AI’s ability to change work is far from preordained. In 2018, workers were not sufficiently prepared for their futures. The algorithms and data that carry AI are also flawed and don’t reflect the diverse society it’s intended to serve.

How AI Could Nurse Jobs

While AI will unquestionably displace some jobs, such displacement had happened long before AI was on the scene. In the past century, we’ve seen the death or diminishment of titles like a travel agent, switchboard driver, milkman, elevator operator, and bowling alley pinsetter. Meantime, new titles like app developers, social media administrators, and data scientists have emerged.

Trainers

Chatbots have recently appeared as a new communications conduit for brands and customers. It’s no secret though that they have often been stiff and extended inappropriate responses. For instance, we might respond, “It’s raining again. Great,” and humans would understand the sarcasm. A machine wouldn’t.

Understanding language is one element of perfecting chatbots. Another is empathy. A fresh wave of startups is injecting emotional intelligence into chatbot-based connection.

Explainers

Trainers produce a human element to AI systems, but “explainers” will bridge the gap among the new policies and their social managers. C-suite executives, for example, will be uneasy about basing judgments on “black box” algorithms. They will need explanations in clear English — delivered by a human — to ease their anxieties.

The legislation is another reason. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force this year, involves the “right to explanation.” That means consumers can question and fight any determination made on an algorithmic base that interests them.

Such explainers will present “autopsies” when the machines make mistakes. They will also diagnose the wrongdoing and help to take steps to avoid similar errors in the future.

Empowering Craftsmen, Businesses, and Industries

Rather than substituting workers, AI can be a tool to help employees work better. A call center agent, for instance, can get instant intelligence about what the caller requires and do their work faster and better. That goes for companies and industry too. In another example, in life sciences, Accenture is using deep learning and neural systems to help companies to bring treatments to market quicker.

In addition to helping surviving businesses, AI can create new ones. Such new business involves digital-based elder care, AI-based farming, and AI-based monitoring of sales calls.

By 2020, artificial intelligence (AI) will generate more jobs than it destroys. New posts and new ways of working will emerge. All employees will be affected, some more than others. Two primary driving forces will shape how AI truly transforms the way we work: human perspectives and technology inclinations.