Yes, the robots are coming but they aren’t here to take all of our jobs. Concerns about a jobless future are now widespread, and whilst certain sectors and industries will be affected and some jobs displaced, many won’t be. The reality of the situation is that the vast majority of jobs (75% according to our findings) will be enhanced through the collaboration of man and machine, and in addition new jobs will be created off the back of artificial intelligence (AI).
Already today we’ve seen smart software have real world impacts by improving the productivity and effectiveness of workers across numerous industries including healthcare, professional services, finance, manufacturing and legal. And it doesn’t just end with our workers, today even leadership is becoming more data driven and rigorous through collaboration with smart machines.
Organizations are clamouring to incorporate AI into their front ends to enhance the customer experience, and into their middle and back ends to drive agility, speed and productivity. By 2020 we forecast that globally, companies will have invested $1.4 trillion into new technologies, including AI, with the primary driver been enhanced productivity and the creation of new skills off the back these technologies.
Already today our research indicates that the impact from new technologies, including AI, is $604 billion globally. And this figure is only set to increase. But the tectonic plates of world business are already shifting, and organizations are no longer simply targeting direct cost take-out and revenue enhancement through AI, but are instead beginning to embrace holistic organization enhancements through this technology including enhancing customer and also employee experience.
To understand how and where we as organizations can effectively augment our workforce, we first need to categorise our workforce’s individual tasks according to social interaction and optimization of function. Once we understand this we can begin to separate out tasks into “red work” (rote, repetitive work with little value creation) and “blue work” (collaborative, social work with high business impact).
The benefits of augmenting our workforce will be profound, from improving our employee experience and increasing customer satisfaction to driving economic value to shareholders.
But in order to get there, organizations will have to think beyond the purely technological revolution needed and also double down on addressing organizational and cultural change.
Leadership will have to address the complexity of the situation and look to break down the long held reliance on organizational silos. Ultimately organizational departments will begin to break down as rote tasks are automated away and worker’s roles become more strategic, intertwined and collaborative.
HR also has a big role to play in this revolution. Ultimately HR itself will have to retool through automation to augment away much of the “red work” that takes up a large proportion of their time, and allow HR teams to focus on core organizational functions including recruiting, change management, performance review and change management. In addition HR teams will have to expand and introduce new members to their team including Man Machine Managers. And lastly HR will have to reprioritise and double down on culture, talent intelligence and learning.
These are the highlights of an upcoming piece of research from Cognizant’s Center for Future of Work. Stay tuned to read the full report.