Written by Paul Daugherty
Of all the technologies that influence the future of work, hiring managers say artificial intelligence (AI) will be among the most transformational. Already, this technology affects our lives in a multitude of ways. From banks using anti–money laundering algorithms as they filter transactions to call center chatbots augment customer interactions, leading companies across industries harness AI’s power to increase operational efficiency and make faster, more informed decisions. And of course, the more that AI influences customer expectations, the greater the impact it will have on the future of work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
However, today’s AI applications will seem narrow and mundane compared to the impact we anticipate over the next decade. That’s because rapid advances in the field of deep learning are starting to evolving AI in ways that will allow it to be used to tackle a much wider set of general problems, while continually improving based on experience.
A key aspect of this more generally intelligent AI is that it will unlock new opportunities for humans and increasingly capable machines to collaborate more closely, enabling businesses to become more efficient and productive. Take AI-powered digital personal assistants, for example. With their intelligence embedded in every kind of interface — from fridges to cars — these will likely become the go-to search tool for businesses and consumers, and we’ll wonder how we ever got along without them. You could even say that Alexa is to the future digital assistant what the BlackBerry was to the iPhone.
We’re also likely to see AI become more widely used by enterprises of all sizes — not just the larger organizations that currently act as its global drivers. That’s because developers with access to open-source datasets and algorithms now build AI into more and more scalable and affordable business applications and products, thus helping to commoditize and democratize it. In short, the playing field is poised to become a lot more competitive, and businesses that don’t deploy AI and data to help them innovate in everything they do will be at a disadvantage.
The value potential up for grabs in this coming stage of AI development is immense. Research has found that AI could double annual economic growth rates in 2035 by changing the nature of work and creating a new relationship between man and machine. The impact of AI technologies on business is projected to increase labor productivity by up to 40% and enable people to make more efficient use of their time.
However, successful integration of advanced AI systems into a business involves more than just automating business processes — it’s also about empowering the workforce to adopt both new skills and ways of thinking. In fact, 59% of hiring managers say the rise of AI will have a substantial or transformational impact on the types of skills their companies need. So, how will AI change the workforce, and what should companies do to ensure employees and AI work together to make the business and workforce thrive?
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