HOW WILL AI IMPACT JOBS?
In the future, many imagine a dystopian workplace where robots are in control and human interactions are severely limited. Only productivity matters: a formula in which robots are better than humans. This vision of the future, more science fiction than reality, is what movies like The Terminator and The Matrix and Blade Runner use to create a compelling story about our fight against the machines. But below the surface, these movies are really about a fight against our darker natures.
Outside of Hollywood, algorithms for machine learning and artificial intelligence require humans, our interactions, our interests, to survive. These intelligent applications require the data we create to create intuitive experiences that attempt to predict and satisfy our needs and desires.
Today, voice assistants in your phone answer your zany questions, and chatbots help answer your HR questions and remind you of upcoming meetings. All of this is to say that we believe that virtual assistants will impact the future workplace for the better by giving each employee the support they need to excel.
Artificial intelligence is an exciting opportunity for many companies today to increase efficiency and improve business performance. Far from a job killer, AI is a job augmenter. According to a Gartner research report, artificial intelligence is currently creating more jobs than it is displacing. More than two million net jobs will be created by 2025.
JOB DISPLACEMENT, NOT REPLACEMENT
Fear of automation stems from the level of uncertainty that employees have about the future of their role. Forrester Consulting found that employees are unsure if they are competent enough for the future digitization of their roles and the level of complexity they may face when upskilling.
In industries affected by automation, it is important for companies to upskill their employees as automation occurs. Picking up new skills will ensure that they won’t lose their place in the job market. Otherwise, build a transition plan by upskilling yourself via online learning. McKinsey estimates that increased investment and productivity through automation will lead to economic growth for full employment if displaced workers move to new jobs within a year.
CONTINUOUS LEARNING IS VITAL
Jobs displaced by automation are only part of the net employment equation. To see how the total number of jobs will change, we must look at the jobs created by automation. Automation will create new jobs directly through the production, maintenance and sale of AI products and services. Indirectly more jobs are created by increasing the productivity of other industries. For example jobs in human resources or customer service for people who understand how to translate workflow processes into robotic process automation(RPA).
HubSpot wrote about the 10 jobs AI will replace and the 10 that are safe. For jobs that are likely displaced major themes include tasks that require little to no human creativity or emotion, and are repetitive. Jobs that won’t be displaced by AI, on the other hand, require human intervention to understand, to innovate, and to create something that other people can comprehend.
What does this mean for the average employee? They must upgrade their skill set to include high-level planning and understanding of subtle nuances that make the production of any work or effort more human at its core.
HUMAN + AI
As humans, we tend to be on guard when we are faced with challenging circumstances. To overcome our survival instinct, we must find a way to adapt. AI technology is poised to help improve the way we work while making us more efficient. From data collection to predictive insights people all over the world will sooner or later understand why AI is a tool that is only going to help us advance further.
AI ASSISTANT FOR IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY
Hong Leong Bank (HLB) has grown substantially over the years, with more than 8,500 employees Malaysia-wide. Much like scaling customer support, HLB had to build a large Helpdesk Team that requires a substantial investment of time and resources by the Human Resource Department (HR) who handle over 23,500 (often repetitive) email & phone enquiries.
Aligned with HLB’s “Digital to the Core” mission, they sought a digital platform that could optimise this part of their business and cater to an increasingly digital workforce.
HALI was ‘hired’ as a Virtual Assistant to deliver both an amazing employee experience and improved HR productivity and had one primary objective: Automate enough employee enquiries to close down the Helpdesk team so they can work on higher-value tasks.
HALI has established itself as a core member of HLB’s HR Department. In 2018, HALI assisted almost half of HLB’s workforce, who exchanged over 60,000 messages.
As a result, HALI has measurably impacted HLB’s HR productivity. By automating core services, HLB saves about 320 hours of monthly manual support. This enabled the Helpdesk team to close, while former team members upskilled and now perform higher value work in other departments.
HALI has also won multiple awards for its innovative use of HR Technology and is being tasked to support additional roles in the Banks HR department. Today, HALI responds to over 100,000 queries every year.
AI and automation will only increase our productivity making the work we do that much more valuable. A machine stock analyst recent outperformed its human counterparts bot in the ability to make more profitable investments and the speed at which it performed investments.
Our future is unknown but we can expect that AI is going to help us evolve to the next stage of human potential. After all, recent advances in smarter robotics to do physical work and software to do mental work are following a long line of technological developments that started during the first industrial revolution.