How will AI Affect the Future Workplaces and Job Market in the Longer Run?

Our buzzword Artificial Intelligence is one of the most happening technologies from Industry 4.0, and we shall discuss why it is also the most important one for the business ecosystem, job profiles, and employee market in the days to come.

One of the popular definitions of Artificial Intelligence as available on Wikipedia is:

“The ability of machines to mimic the cognitive functions of the human mind.”

It focuses on enabling the development of the cognitive model of the physical and cyber environment, and run analysis to successfully simulate results, interact with the environment, and deduce conclusions. This concept has been discussed from as early as the 19th century by the mathematicians, and the advent of Machine Learning has kindled the AI revolution. It will have long-lasting effects on the global workforce and change the way businesses function. The global AI market is expected to touch the $83.8 billion mark by 2025 (Statista.)

The first three industrial revolutions have drastically impacted the work done by the individuals by mechanization and subsequent automation of production processes, which became available at economical prices. Using AI will prove to be a significant cost reduction strategy for businesses, and individuals will have to adapt to the arising circumstances in the employment market. Before we move forward, let us have a look at the current changes in hiring patterns that reflect implicit changes.

Previously, we have experienced the distribution of talent in three major segments, namely; specialists, mediocre, and generalists, with the formal economy leaning towards the mediocre work profiles in large numbers. However, the rise of Artificial Intelligence will absorb these work profiles since the repetitive cognitive functions, including managerial aspects, will be automated and assisted to a high degree. This will result in an increased gap between generalists and specialists.

However, this is a tricky condition for the employees as they will have to don new hats and either develop extensive expertise in one domain or become jacks of all trades. Be it production or financial investment analysis; the employees will have to mend their working competencies in order to adapt to the newer tools and business processes.

What are the difficulties faced due to the cognitive biases, opportunities offered by AI adoption, and the neural network techniques used:

The decision-making process is affected by a lot of ‘mental short-cuts’ which reduce the time taken in the process while making a trade-off with analytical portions. These biases include confirmation bias, authority bias, ambiguity bias, and bandwagon bias to form a cluster of 16 such biases commonly encountered by human minds. This problem affects the productivity of the businesses to a large extent, and the use of cognitive technologies will help in the risks posed by surpassing the short-cuts and providing analytical insights to the most intricate relationships between process parameters. The adoption of AI will be primarily affected by the functional specialists instead of technocrats (PwC.)

As per a Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review study, 72% of the surveyed population spanning over 112 countries and 21 industries with 3000 individuals states that technology, media, the telecom sector will witness changes in the product offerings over a horizon of five years. The use of Feed Forward Neural Networks, Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs), and Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are the machine learning techniques that will help in transforming the operational aspects.

A popular application is to use deep learning in predictive maintenance by using a high range of multi-layered data clubbed with the accelerometers, tachometers, image, and voice processors to devise maintenance plans that will reduce the costs by a large extent. Hence, the maintenance engineers will need to be equipped with such competencies.

As per the World Economic Forum, almost 33% of jobs post-2020 will require a newer skill set, which isn’t needed currently. The areas where humans will continue to dominate the workplaces include contextual cognitive problem solving, Natural Language Processing, and the social-emotional intelligence (McKinsey)

For example, if we look at the effect of past industrial revolutions, the use of CNC Machine tools reduced the jobs associated with traditional machine tools such as lathe machines and shapers, but the new roles such as operators, CNC programmers, and maintenance personnel for more modern types of components. However, the AI-powered industrial robots will radically redefine the existing production methods. This doesn’t mean that the actual maintenance process is done by robots as the fault-finding will be as far as the computers can help. The rest will rely on human decision making and technical skills of the workers.

The job profiles such as receptionist clerks, telemarketers, data entry operators, and financial market analysts are most likely to be wiped out due to the fact that most of the traditional functional requirements of these jobs are already automated, and the remaining ones can be replaced to a large extent. Around 47% of the workers in the United States will witness their jobs getting automated in the next two decades (source: an Oxford study.)

Sales profiles will experience significant technological breakthroughs such as the use of ChatBOTs, which will interact with the clients on various digital platforms and improve the closing ratio by leaps and bounds. Clerical work will be taken over by the Robotic Process Automation as it will learn to use a variety of software such as email platforms, accounting, and inventory management that are used by most of the organizations.

The future workplaces will include the work profiles such as Data Scientists, BI Developers, AI Research Scientists, and Robotics Scientists in large numbers, which are highly specialized jobs regardless of the business domain.

How can Employees Manage these Changes

In order to stay relevant, the best strategy will be to take the early bird advantage in enhancing the expertise over subjects like machine learning, deep learning, and statistical portions of analytics. Developing AI algorithms that help physical robots to interact with their environment and learn to manipulate it are going to be essential parts of work for mechanical and electronics engineers. The use of cloud computing and big data will be equally relevant to the BFSI sector employees to increase their competitive edge apart of their domain-specific expertise.

As far as the employers are concerned, the use of newer technologies can’t be procrastinated as the market will overthrow the obsolete enterprises, as in the case of Kodak. They will have to look forward to hiring these domain experts to keep the business in-line with the market. Interestingly, the financial compulsions are also extremely crucial since the fundamental difference made by the Artificial Intelligence is on the economics of business as it serves as a cost optimization tool as it replaces the human involvement in the repetitive processes which generally require high expertise in a single domain or continuous low-level cognition for decision making.

Summing Up

While Blockchain, Genetic engineering, IoT, and improved materials technology are critical; Artificial Intelligence will dominate the center-space for businesses since it will replace the job profiles, processes, product features, product lifecycles, and economics of the business. However, it will also help in the creation of newer jobs and increase living standards globally. It’s important to note that they will not replace us in the things we are good at, instead they will aid us by replacing the not-so-efficient parts of our existing job profiles.

63% organizations find that cost reduction drives will lead to increased investments in AI tech (Forbes.) The academics will also resonate with the shift in the employment market as the opportunities will continue to increase in the research, developing, supporting, and business integration with an increased focus on tangible domain expertise. It will be one of a kind impact that will encompass masses with an unprecedented momentum in the days to come.

Author Bio:

Shy Lee is part of the Digital Outreach team here at FactoHR, a cloud based HR and payroll software development solution provider. that your employees will love. She aims at engaging HR professionals and CEOs with trending HR topics.