The Future of Work and AI


In 2012, Dennis Mortensen had 1,019 meetings, each of which required an average of roughly eight back-and-forth emails to schedule. Now his personal assistant, Amy Ingram, schedules his meetings for him.

There’s just one thing: Amy isn’t a human being — she’s a virtual assistant (notice her initials, AI). Every time Mortensen comes across a contact interested in meeting with him, the CEO and founder of New York City-based artificial intelligence firm simply sends them a return email copying Amy, who takes care of the rest.

“In raw numbers, I’ve saved about an hour every day — an hour which I would otherwise have to use in really rudimentary work where I add not much value,” Mortensen said of Amy’s help scheduling meetings.

Virtual assistants like Amy are becoming more common. Just as household technology platforms like Apple’s “Siri” and Microsoft’s “Cortana” has helped consumers navigate their lives more easily, other forms of rudimentary artificial intelligence platforms are starting to proliferate the market, many of them upending traditional business roles.

To this point, such technological innovation has brought nothing but excitement to those who have found its benefits. Still, as AI and automation technology advances, some are fearful of the wide-scale human job loss it might bring.

In some instances, this is already happening. Automation in sectors like manufacturing has taken over jobs long held by humans. Experts predict jobs rooted in repetitive, computational tasks are likely to succumb to technology in the not-too-distant future.

Moshe Vardi, an esteemed computer science professor from Rice University in Houston, grabbed media attention in February when he boldly predicted to attendees at the annual meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science that artificial intelligence could displace almost half of the world’s population out of their jobs in the next 30 years.

Others who fear a robotic takeover are Tesla and SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk and physicist Stephen Hawking. Both are not just fearful of AI’s ability to displace human jobs in the economy; they think robots could potentially end mankind altogether.

Not everyone is as bearish on the future of jobs and technology — or humanity. Dermot O’Brien, chief human resources officer at payroll provider and consulting firm Automatic Data Processing Inc., or ADP, said technological advances are more likely to further enable human productivity, not replace it entirely. People will “be able to focus on more the interesting, higher-impact side of their roles,” he said.

Talent managers play an important role in technology’s integration in the economy, experts say, particularly as it pertains to employee development. With more employees expected to integrate technology in their work, a greater emphasis on learning and development will be needed to keep pace.

Read source article in Talent Management