AI and Automation

technology evolution concept with 3d rendering robot warehouse, assistance robot and cyborg

by Joanne Frearson

Is the AI revolution friend or foe?

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Technology is changing the way we work – how prepared is your company?


There is still a lot companies have to grapple with when it comes to robotics and automation in the workforce, from shifts in job roles to prejudices in the machines themselves.


“The previous wave of technological evolution tended to focus on manufacturing and manual jobs, but the next will [focus on] knowledge[-based] jobs,” says Euan Semple, author of Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do. “If you are doing accountancy, medicine, law and if your job is routine and bureaucratic then there’s a strong chance your job will be automated in the next 10 to 20 years.”


He explains that technology has become more sophisticated at analysing data to the extent that it can now detect patterns which humans might not be able to. In radiology, it is being used to spot cancer patterns with far greater accuracy than the human eye.


However, companies going down this path face a steep learning curve. Although these new technologies can make things more efficient, Semple thinks many senior people lack knowledge about how to best apply them in the workforce.


Worries about the future

There are concerns, he says that we could end up with a “pretty dysfunctional future because we have not thought hard enough about what we are doing in advance.”


For example, these systems, could potentially be built to include the bias of whoever designed them. There are also concerns about what sort of impact automation could have on the workforce.   


“If you are compliant, you are at real risk,” Semple says. “How much of the workforce will end up in those large corporate environments in the future? If [technology] is more efficient, how many of us will end up in the gig economy or smaller organisations?” 


Semple recommends companies empower staff to be more creative in the workforce, encouraging them to collaborate between teams and have robust discussions of ideas. 


“The optimistic scenario is that we find new ways to add value to each other,” he says. “It is about how we help people get ready for that.

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