Trend 9: Robotics and AI

After hours of searching, days of reading, and weeks of digesting, I have identified thirteen global trends impacting the world of work in 2017 and beyond. This is part 9 in a series of 13 articles.

Intelligent machines and cognitive computing have gone mainstream.

(photo credits: Linus Bohman)

A vast majority of executives report that they will invest extensively in artificial intelligence (AI) over the next couple of years. AI will move from a back-end tool to more sophisticated roles such as customer service and learning & development.

Not surprisingly, many workers worry that machines will be taking their jobs. Expert reports have fueled this fear by predicting that, in developing nations, two-thirds of jobs are in danger of being replaced by robots and AI. There is broad consensus that the increase of automation in the workplace will change labor patterns worldwide, in almost every sector, and this will create more unrest among workers.

It’s nice to know that, at least for the time being, we cannot delegate everything to computers. Empathy, influence, leadership, problem-solving, and decision-making are still very much human skills. While robots and AI take over the dangerous and repetitive jobs, we can invent new, more meaningful jobs that require the human touch.

Empathy, influence, leadership, problem-solving, and decision-making are still very much human skills.

To make automation work, organizations will invest in connections, interfaces, and large sets of data from every possible channel. Technology will not only replace people but also assist people in making sure that the human jobs have even more importance and focus. Succeeding in this could mean gaining a competitive advantage in key markets. Customers appreciate both reliability of service (performed with machines) and the human touch (achieved with people).

There is no doubt that robots and AI will take over a proportion of jobs. This will have a disruptive impact on the workforce, right across the skills spectrum. Everyone, from hourly workers to those in the C-suite, must be prepared to work alongside the machines. But the good part of this is that the time people spend on getting machines to do useful stuff keeps shrinking. And that will give us more time to do the things that we enjoy the most.

The Agility Scales team will get computers to do repeatable stuff so that we can focus on the meaningful work. If you want to know more, join our community.

This major trend was derived from the insightful results offered by the authors and publishers of the following reports:

2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends
Accenture Technology Vision 2017
Boston Consulting Group 12 Forces 2017
Bersin-Deloitte — Predictions for 2017
Mercer Talent Trends 2017 Global Study
PWC CEO 20th Survey Report 2017
Randstad Sourceright 2017 Talent Trends Report
Sodexo 2017 Workplace Trends Report

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