We’ve seen the movies. Hulking Austrian bodybuilder in a leather jacket and shades, living tissue
over metal endoskeleton, kicking down doors to terminate all living humans. It figures why the very
concept of Artificial Intelligence makes some of us uneasy. Especially when it comes to our job
In fact, very few subjects in science and technology are causing as much excitement right now as
A.I. In a lot of cases this is good reason, as some of the world’s brightest minds have said that it’s
potential to revolutionise all aspects of our lives is unprecedented.
But let’s not jump into our doomsday bunkers just yet. As with anything, A.I. in the workplace has
earned itself more than a few myths that need clearing up.
A.I. will replace all jobs.
It’s true that the advent of A.I. and automation has the potential to seriously disrupt labour – and in
many situations, it is already doing just that. However, it’s not as easy as boiling it down to a
straightforward transfer of labour from humans to machines.
Previous industrial revolutions did their part in transforming much of the employment landscape,
such as the mass shift from agricultural work to factories during the nineteenth century. The
number of jobs has generally stayed consistent though.
Despite what sci-fi fans say, there’s very little actual evidence to suggest that mass unemployment
or widespread redundancy of human workforces is likely. And no, humans are not at risk of
becoming a slave race to our machine overlords.
In fact, it is just as possible that a more productive economy brought about by the increased
efficiency and reduction of waste that automation promises will give us more options for spending
our time on productive, income-generating pursuits.
In the short-term, employers are generally looking at AI technology as a method of augmenting
human workforces, and enabling them to work in newer and smarter ways, and more importantly,
perform jobs that bring them more enjoyment.
Only low-skilled workers are affected by A.I.
In fact, A.I. equipped robots and machinery are carrying out work generally reserved for the most
highly trained and professional members of society. In medicine for example, machine learning
algorithms assess images such as scans and x-rays, looking for early warning signs of disease,
which they are proving highly competent at spotting. However, this as well as many other
professions, involve a combination of routine, though technically complex, procedures – which are
perfect for machines – as well as procedures that require a human touch. With A.I. assistance,
human workers will have more time to focus on these areas and procedures that no machine can
A.I. will become better at everything we can do.
Specialised A.I. are the ones focused on performing one job, or working in one field, and becoming
increasingly good at it – are a fact of life today. Take voice recognition and language translation for
instance. Generalised A.I. however – those which are capable of applying themselves to a number
of different tasks, just as human or natural intelligence are – are further off. There are just
somethings that humans can do, that A.I. can’t. No matter what the movies may tell you.
A.I. will outpace human intelligence.
This is a misconception brought about by picturing intelligence as a linear scale. One in which
animals score at the lower end, humans at the higher end, and A.I. at the top.
In reality, intelligence is measured in many different dimensions. In the speed of calculations or
capacity for recall, computers already far outpace us, while in others, such as creative ability,
emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking, they are still nowhere near and aren’t likely to be any
time soon. Life, as they say, finds a way.
So now that we have dispelled these myths. How can business owners bridge the disconnect
between their perceptions, and their employees’ actual willingness to work with A.I. to augment
their jobs? A recent survey of more than 14,000 workers globally discovered that 62%
believe that A.I. will have a positive impact on their work. 67% of workers believe it will be
important to learn new skills to work with A.I. in the next three to five years. These data points have
been distilled into 3 main recommendations:
Understand: Companies need to develop a better understanding of individual workers’
expectations and aspirations in order to create training modules and awareness programs that
better address differences in motivation and skill levels.
Measure: Take a holistic approach to ensure that training is relevant by assessing which training
methods work then measuring employee interest and engagement as well as the effectiveness of
various training methods.
Be Human: In an increasingly digital workplace, uniquely human attributes such as empathy,
creativity, listening and inclusion are needed now more than ever. Leaders should be visible
examples of these human attributes and should be developed at all levels where the actual work
occurs, empowering employees to exercise autonomy and make decisions.
To have a better understanding of how to better prepare your workforce to work with A.I. in the
near future, reach out to us at ACCENDO.