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What's Happening?

Augmented humanity

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Emerging technologies have already transformed the world of work. However, more disruptions are to come as businesses adopt digital tools for communication, problem-solving, and task execution. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) is also playing an increasingly important role in a rapidly expanding range of tasks and activities.

The current transformation in the workplace is causing significant impact on companies, employees, and the customers they serve. Therefore, the creation of the workforce of the future requires a fresh approach to collaboration between individuals and technology to unlock success.

A technological paradox

In the current digital era, businesses, consumers, and society face what multinational consultancy PwC terms a “technology paradox”. While technology has never been more powerful, it is pervasive, and while it has never presented greater potential to drive positive change, it also brings risks that could erode trust. Technology has never been more accessible, but it also heightens fears of exclusion and division.

 

It is therefore evident that to effectively unleash the power of technology, businesses must possess the skills and understanding to harness its potential while mitigating the risks that technology potentially presents. This essentially means embracing the attributes that make us human – such as difference, judgement, care, empathy and understanding.

Organisations that manage to successfully blend technology with human expertise can enhance efficiency while preserving strong customer connections. Thus, to optimally balance automation and the human element requires businesses to thoroughly assess where AI excels and where humans provide unique value.

However, according to the Harvard Business Review, AI is becoming increasingly good at many “human” jobs, such as providing customer service, translating languages, or diagnosing illness. As a result, this is raising fears that AI will ultimately replace human workers throughout the economy.

Working together

Yet, that is not the inevitable, nor even the most likely, outcome. Digital tools have never been as responsive to us as they are today, and we have never been as responsive to our tools as we are now. Although AI will bring about radical changes in how work is accomplished and who performs it, its greater impact will be in enhancing and supplementing human capabilities, rather than replacing them.

Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review has found that while many companies have implemented AI to automate their processes, the ones that use it primarily to replace employees will only experience temporary improvements in productivity. When humans and machines work together, organisations can achieve the most significant performance enhancements.

 

Forward-thinking businesses are thus increasingly embracing the power of blending human talent and AI. Rather than replacing human workers, automation and artificial intelligence augment human capabilities, enabling a symbiotic relationship between humans and technology. Companies can unlock numerous benefits with this strategic approach.

Preparing for a digital future

The integration of AI-driven technologies with human resources may significantly boost productivity, lead to cost savings, and create new business opportunities through collaboration between humans and bots.

However, it is also crucial to acknowledge that there may be challenges that come with the rapid adoption of automation and AI. One of these challenges is the possibility of job displacement in specific industries. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2025, automation could displace approximately 85 million jobs while creating 97 million new roles.

To achieve the optimal tech and human factor combination, it is key for organisations and governments to invest in reskilling and upskilling initiatives that can help workers transition smoothly into the future of work.

By embracing the blended work environment and actively preparing for the challenges and opportunities ahead, organisations can position themselves as leaders in the new era of work. It is important to proactively prepare for the changes ahead to ensure a successful transition for all employees.