How Will Artificial Intelligence Shape Our Workforce?

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has already made a dramatic shift in the way we live, work, and play. From online shopping experiences to voice-controlled assistants, we have gradually become more accustomed to an AI-fueled world, even when we don’t always recognize it as such.

AI allows a computer to learn and solve problems without help from humans; through AI, companies like Amazon can predict what you might want to buy next based on previous purchases, while Netflix can recommend what movies or television shows might be of interest to you. AI is even changing the medical world by helping doctors detect cancer.

As AI becomes a bigger part of our daily lives, it continues transforming the workforce as well as the workplace. Different skills are becoming more sought after, while others are less in demand. For example, self-driving trucks are already being eyed as a way to solve the growing shortage of truck drivers. Their presence on the roads could change the trucking industry and the types of skills needed by those employed by the industry.

Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Regardless of the profession or vocation, it’s safe to say that every worker is affected by AI in one way or another. Understanding what the future of artificial intelligence looks like is the first step in preparing for it. Armed with the right tools, workers and business leaders alike can more easily transition into an AI-dominated workforce and use these changes to do business in their favor. Here’s a look at some of the ways experts predict AI will change the working world — and what that means to today’s workers.

Working with Robots

The robots of the future won’t necessarily replace humans; they’ll collaborate with them. According to the business communications company Mitel, robots will step in to do some of the more mundane tasks that humans are already less than excited about doing. This could include having robots manage the first line of customer service interactions, such as determining what the customer’s needs are and how best to help them.

Already, a Russian startup has created a robot that relies on AI software to allow her to interview as many as 1,500 job candidates in just one day. This type of robot “employee” could save time and money for human resources professionals and then present them with the top candidates for a human-to-human interview.

Leveraging Chatbots

Many of us are already accustomed to interacting with chatbots, particularly if we’re shopping online. From helping us order flowers to answering questions about a computer purchase, chatbots provide instant information without human interaction.

Businesses that make greater use of chatbots can save time and resources, turning to virtual assistants to do things like schedule meetings and generate the paperwork needed for a certain presentation. Meanwhile, workers will soon be able to use chatbots to help streamline their day-to-day tasks; they will even be useful for things like searching for a new job or providing coaching or mentoring on a specific skill set.

Boosting Productivity

It’s been said that the devil is in the details. With AI, workers gain time and productivity by leaving those details to a computer. Both companies and employees can benefit from this; workers spend less time dealing with routine questions and things like scheduling, giving them more time to devote to the more challenging and nuanced aspects of the job.

Giving Big Data a Hand

Business professionals from a variety of industries are benefiting from the evolution of AI. With so much of the business world depending upon big data for its daily operations, AI is the engine that keeps driving companies forward. With applications in areas like billing, data integration, fraud detection, and more, the workforce is becoming increasingly efficient and leverages the ability to work together with machines for a more seamless and satisfying experience for consumers.

As AI changes the workforce, the skills that employees focus on developing are changing, too. Knowing how to apply AI, how to plan for future changes, and how to make critical decisions based on data are among the new skill sets that are becoming highly prized.

A recent report by Gartner estimates that, while AI is expected to eliminate about 1.8 million jobs by 2020, it will create about 2.3 million jobs in that same time. This includes both entry-level and low-skill jobs, as well as highly skilled management positions. The report also gives sound advice on how leaders and businesses can best prepare for that new reality.

“Focus on augmenting people’s jobs with AI,” the report suggests. “Enrich people’s jobs, reimagine old tasks and create new industries. Transform your culture to make it readily adaptable to AI-related opportunities or threats.”

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