How AI is reshaping the future of work

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Written by Ero Georgiades on 3 March 2021 in Features
Features

Ero Georgiades looks at the growth of AI-powered software and the consequent rise of the power of the employee’s human touch.

2020 was a year of considerable change in the business sector. Undeniably, in response to the escalating pandemic, organisations were forced to make monumental decisions about the way they do business. And in order to adapt and carve out a new path in the ‘new normal’, this has involved transforming everything from working protocols, to complete digital strategy overhauls.

Specifically, digital transformation has become more important than ever.

Although this term has been a watchword for businesses for years now, the pandemic has charged it with new meaning. In the current climate, leveraging tech has meant more than just keeping up with other organisations: for many firms it has meant the difference between failure and success, and a healthy bottom line in the face of uncertainty.

Given the promise of new and emerging technologies, businesses are naturally looking at how they can best implement and utilise tech in the months and years to come, to ensure their long-term survival. Here are some areas that businesses will be focusing their attention on in 2021.

AI has entered the workplace

Data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are playing a key role in the race to end COVID-19 and support a return to normality. For their part, businesses are increasingly using big data and AI to realign their strategies and thrive in a difficult set of circumstances.

Technologies will not only ensure that business can continue safely and successfully throughout the pandemic, it will also ease the burden of over-stretched workforces

At the moment, the uses for these technologies will differ from business to business. While some organisations will be augmenting employee capabilities through AI-assisted chatbots, in an effort to field inquiries and improve the customer experience while face-to-face remain limited, others might be using advanced software to automate tedious and time-consuming activities. 

In any case, investment in these technologies will not only ensure that business can continue safely and successfully throughout the pandemic, it will also ease the burden of over-stretched workforces, and speed up processes that rely heavily on data-gathering in the future.

How will roles change in an automated workforce?

As the majority of organisations are confident that embracing AI will give them a sustainable advantage in the long-term, it is likely that investments in these technologies will stretch far beyond the lifespan of the pandemic.

COVID-19 has ultimately changed the corporate mentality when it comes to taking on pioneering tech: just a few years ago, the word ‘automation’ might have conjured up unrealistic images of robots dominating offices and shifting out employees. Now, thankfully, the discourse has changed.

Although the fear once was that the workforce might see their ranks diminished by the onset of artificial intelligence and robots (in 2019, a survey revealed that 27% of workers were worried that the job they have will be eliminated as a result of new technology in the next five years), the contrary is true. Just a couple of years on, more individuals are on board with the concept of AI and its power for good.

As roles change in response to developments in the AI arena employers will be looking to hire more members of staff with the insight and ‘soft skills’ to manage cutting edge technologies. 

As AI-powered software begins to take on much of grunt work, employees will no longer have to endure hours of completing mundane chores, and the human touch will become even more valuable – particularly when it comes to analysing the insights collected by AI, and putting them into context.

Already, 64% say that their role has actually become more fulfilling since AI solutions have been used to automate certain tasks, and that they have been able to focus on more creative and rewarding duties – an encouraging prospect indeed.

Ultimately, the future of the workforce beyond the pandemic looks set to be one reinforced by the many benefits that AI has to offer and many are eager to see what is in store for businesses over the next 12 months.

 

About the author

Ero Georgiades is the chief operating officer of Fountech Solutions

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