Will robots take your job? Is there any positivity on the horizon?Much of the negativity surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace today is driven by fear. AI is a technology that appears scary, futuristic and intangible. But in reality, it’s not. Most of us use AI and machine learning every single day. From Amazon, to Netflix, to Facebook, every time we switch on our computer, tablet or smartphone, we’re using AI in some form.
But away from the safety of our own homes, is AI in the workplace a good idea? Fears that AI could replace humans in work roles are commonplace, with hundreds of articles appearing online what seems like everyday. But is AI all that bad?
Whilst it is possible that there may be some job losses as a result of AI, on the whole the future looks bright. Not only for technology companies and your boss, but also for office workers.
People are scared of AI
The main reason why there’s such panic around the possibility of AI in the workplace is that most people don’t actually understand what AI is. It’s practical uses even less so. It doesn’t take an app developer to work out that AI like Amazon’s Alexa could help office professionals organise their schedules.
AI is not some 80’s dystopian robot sat in a chair welcoming guests to your company. AI can process data, do the jobs that no-one else wants to do and ultimately free up time for you to focus on the most important parts of your job. In the end, AI is here to help humans, not overtake them.
We’ve heard it all before
With every technological advance comes backlash. From the German engravers in 1470s who rebelled against printed books, to 19th century Luddites destroying weaving equipment, technological advancement nearly always causes controversy.
Despite this, technological developments have almost always led to improvements, both socially and in terms of people’s careers. For the German engravers, more work came about as illustrators to meet the demand with increased book production. Likewise, today it is likely that with the rise of AI, there will be a rise in new job opportunities.
They might not be roles that you are familiar with right now, but an app developer didn’t exist a few years ago either. Nor did a digital marketer. Artificial intelligence is all set to create more jobs than it destroys. Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, say that by 2020 AI is expected to create create 2.3 million jobs, while eliminating 1.8 million.
With a 500,000 increase in jobs in the next few years, and record high employment levels in the UK, AI looks set to improve the world of work. You might not be doing the same sort of job in a few years’ time, but it’s likely you won’t be unemployed either.
Robots have already replaced humans
Robots have already replaced humans. In fact, 63% of people use AI technology everyday. From Siri, to Netflix, to Amazon, every time we binge watch Stranger Things, ask for directions, or receive online shopping recommendations, we’re engaging with AI.
Whilst we’re all engaged at home, just how engaged are we at work? For marketing professionals who use SEO software and Google Analytics — you already use AI. And with Amazon already gearing up towards a mass rollout of Alexa for business, all office-based sectors will likely embrace it too.
Organising our calendars is set to get an awful lot easier. Ordering office supplies too. If Amazon’s rollout is as successful as expected, tedious tasks can become a thing of the past. And that’s something no-one should be worried about. It could improve business processes no end.
Will AI and robots take your job?
With McKinsey Global Institute stating that AI will take the jobs of 800 million people worldwide by 2030, and between 75 and 375 million workers having to switch roles, on the surface the introduction of AI looks pretty bleak.
This is especially the case for roles within human resources, customer service, PA, and administration. If AI can control every task, for every employee, at every waking hour, what’s the need for more organisational roles within a business?
Well, for starters, people value human interaction. Walking into an empty office without anyone there to greet clients, candidates and staff is not a great way to make a first impression. The way in which we operate as office professionals will change. There’s no doubting that. But AI will be there to help us, not kill our sector. And with AI tech developing every week, there’ll be some new, exciting, currently unknown positions for us to sink our teeth into.
Is having AI in the workplace worth worrying about?
Ultimately, it’s really not worth your time and effort worrying about AI. Yes, it will take some jobs. Millions of them if the McKinsey report is to be believed. But there will be new roles that we don’t yet know about. And within those roles, AI will be there to make our jobs that little bit easier.
So to answer the question: why do people think that having AI in the workplace is a good idea?
Because in the end, AI can play a hugely positive role at work. It can help us organise, play our favourite music, and arrange meetings with clients and candidates. Just think about all those times you wished you had a personal assistant to organise your time so you can focus on what really matters.
With AI, that will not only be possible, it will be essentially cost-free. Our PAs, long term, might all be virtual assistants called Alexa or Siri. But with time, we’ll all grow to love them.
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