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Discover The Future of Work

It's no secret that artificial intelligence is going to be the greatest story of our time as such we need to put our fears to rest, AI is not going to fully replace the majority of jobs. However, this technology is going to impact nearly every job on the planet in years to come, in much the same way that computers did from the 1970s to present day. These intelligent systems will make the majority of jobs, and our lives, easier and more impactful. In addition, the reality is, in many cases AI systems can simply not work effectively without us. A recent study by Harvard shows that deep learning tools in pathology yielded significantly better results when working alongside humans than when either human or machine worked alone. Through collaboration man and machine achieved 99.5% success rates in cancer diagnosis vs 97.1% when the AI system acted alone.

The inherent power of AI lies in its ability to deliver the "science" of work, the computational ability to rapidly analyse millions of calculations a second and present these in an easy to consume fashion to humans. This ability to process vast data sets augments human workers with superpowers they have never possessed. Through collaboration with intelligent machines human ability is amplified through augmented intelligence which opens up vast new pathways of value creation.

However, the foil to this "science" of work is the human "art" of work. Humans can contextualise the findings from AI systems into scenarios outside of a preconceived data set. This manifests itself into the following six qualities that humans have that allow them to excel alongside machines:

  • Empathy and communication. While AI diagnosis tools are being used to detect diseases like cancer, the last thing any of us would want is for a machine to deliver the diagnosis. We are still a long way off from any technology that can genuinely recognize and understand human emotion and therefore empathy and communication remain bedrocks of the human component of the augmented worker.
  • Critical thinking. Whilst AI can process huge data sets and suggest best possible scenarios, what the technology can't do is contextualise these findings with data it doesn't have. For example, some law firms are using AI to identify relevant documents in legal cases but a human judge is still needed to adjudicate a decision.
  • Creativity. Whilst we have seen AI systems create art and music, the results are often questionable. Roles that include true creativity such as writing, engineering, entrepreneurship, art, music, are at this time uniquely human.
  • Strategy: Already AI is beginning to augment leadership, examples including Deep Knowledge Ventures AI board member Vital, have been around for some time. However, these systems cannot deliver the context and executional nuance needed to give leadership strategic relevance.
  • Technological management, installation and upkeep. Robots do not have the manual dexterity or holistic awareness to maintain or install themselves. Therefore, this responsibility will remain the preserve of humans for a while yet.
  • Imagination and vision. The ability to envision intangible scenarios and future events is what has, and will continue to, drive humanities abundance and growth. Out of all the uniquely human characteristics that will define work in industry 4.0, this is arguably our most precious.

To explore how organizations can effectively augment their workforce through strategic use of AI in job roles, read our latest CFoW report, The Symbiosis of Human and Machine.

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