It’s all too easy to see the future of work in black and white: Some believe that with the lowest unemployment rate in decades, everything is bound to stay the same, while others see intelligent bots obliterating the need for human employees altogether.
All indicators, however, point to something in-between. Seismic change is surely ahead, with the infiltration of artificial intelligence (AI) into all aspects of work, but it’s no time to panic about the role of human employees. While we believe 10% of jobs will wither away in the face of AI, we also see more jobs being created than destroyed. (In fact, we’ve begun to define actual job titles that we see emerging — 42 of them, so far.)
The fact is, machines can’t live without humans, who are good at a multitude of essential activities that machines have no aptitude for — identifying nuance, showing empathy, finding meaning, providing context, making judgment calls. And increasingly humans will find that —rather than destroying jobs – bots will usher in new opportunities for roles that are only now being defined: voice UX designers, algorithm bias auditors, chief purpose planners and more.
But this isn’t a time to stand still. Anyone who wants to remain employed in the decades ahead needs to tap into one of the many waves of opportunity that AI is generating, be it the development of e-sport arenas, curating personal memories using augmented and virtual reality, helping young people parlay their knowledge of cybercrime into healthy directions or ensuring ethical use of AI.
The combination of humans and intelligent machines will be a powerful force that will define success going forward. Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work has been tracking the emergence of AI and its impact on work to help businesses and employees better understand how to prepare for the future of work.