The question in the AI market is no longer about whether AI can affect the workplace and the human workforce. Instead, the raging curiosity in the market revolves around a series of interlinked questions: When will the AI Wave happen? Will robots replace the whole human workforce? What would the end result look like?
The answers to these questions? Well, AI is happening right now in front of our eyes. The solutions this technology provides vary from self-driven complex processes to the insights and recommendations you get while scrolling through social media. With the impact already visible, one can definitely say that AI will be part of the workforce, but not replace it.
The common fear that robots will soon take over and steal countless jobs is an example of the concept of singularity. While we don’t blame humans for thinking this way, because they have been forced to believe so much in these non-existing changes through the media, the merger of AI and the workplace will be based more on the concept of multiplicity then singularity. Workplaces with multiplicity incorporate a diverse group of humans and robots together to increase efficiency and achieve results that neither of these diverse groups could have achieved working alone.
Multiplicity is therefore the single most important concept that perfectly explains the entry of Artificial Intelligence to the market. The growing interest in Multiplicity by business owners is justified, as it enables humans and machines to innovate and collaborate together to solve their problems.
Tata Communications has worked on the concept of Multiplicity, and recently revealed a study titled ‘AI will diversify human thinking and not replace it.’ As a proud partner of Tata Communications, I have been granted access to this information and have summarised key points from the study below.
Key Findings in the Study
The recent study by Tata Communications is based on specific and thoughtful input from over 120 business leaders. Business leaders surveyed as part of this report are projecting the potential impact of AI in the workplace and are currently using it for numerous purposes. In a transition from the dystopian views currently held by a few loud voices, this report breaks the pattern and introduces a new set of opportunities relating to the merger of technology and humans in the workplace. In short, AI can diversify the way humans think, rather than replace it.
Almost 90 percent of the business leaders surveyed as part of the study believed that cognitive diversity in the workplace is extremely important for running a successful organization. Managers in the contemporary workplace want employees to think differently and experiment with their typified ways of problem solving. While expecting such cognitive diversity was a bit difficult in the past, the role AI can play in the workforce means that organizations can expect greater rewards in the future. AI mechanisms will help augment human efforts in the workplace and stimulate cognitive diversification that benefits the organization.
The study also revealed that 75 percent of respondents expected AI to create new roles for employees. This is a clear indication that AI is not going to replace human jobs, but will instead increase efficiency and shift humans’ roles and even create new positions for employees that provide meaningful work better suited to humans’ strengths.
Interestingly, 93 percent of respondents believed that AI will enhance the decision-making skills of the organization. There is no doubt in the fact that AI hosts immense potential for delivering insights in the heat of the moment when they matter most. With decision makers presented with the right insights at the right time, they will be able to make more informed and forward thinking decisions.
Three Ways How AI will augment the Human Workforce
Having discussed the findings from the research by Tata Communication and the massive potential for humans and AI to co-exist and achieve increased efficiency, we will now shed light on the three ways through which AI will augment the skills of the human workforce.
With evidence to suggest that the human workforce is not going anywhere any time soon, below we will turn our attention to the important issue of how AI will enhance the human workforce.
Potential to Help Individuals Become More Curious, Agile and Nimble
AI’s increasing presence in the workplace will alter the skills that businesses expect from their employees. The way people think will be more important than ever, which is why the recruitment process will likely change for the better.
This people-CENTRIC view would champion creativity, curiosity, and experimentation as traits that humans boast about. Rather than being at the business end of things, humans will now devote more time to what humans are good at; adding value, thinking of new business ideas, creative problem solving and building meaningful relationships with stakeholders and clients.
AI Can Enhance Human Collaboration
Rather than thinking about substituting Artificial Intelligence into different business processes, organizations would benefit more from thinking about how both humans and machines can work together to create a partnership greater than the sum of its parts.
The beginning of this partnership can signal great things for organizations and may even help them develop their business offerings to deliver significant gains in performance.
Collaboration between humans is also likely to increase with the use of AI, as the technology has the capacity limit the presence of silos and other barriers to cross-organizational collaboration, ultimately making the organization a better, well-oiled machine for the future. Moreover, AI can also compensate for human error and further increase collaboration in the process.
AI Has the Potential to Enhance Cognitive Diversity within Groups
Perhaps the biggest benefit of AI comes with its ability to enhance the intellectual diversity and collective intelligence within a workplace. Both humans and machines will complement each other’s strengths to come up with diverse ideas that show the strength of AI’s implementation.
While humans can work towards bringing up ideas, creative solutions, and action plans, AI systems can work as the devil’s advocate and challenge inherent assumptions. These systems will negate creative flaws such as vampire creativity and groupthink among many others.
Impact on Businesses
Vinod Kumar, CEO and Managing Director at Tata Communication, believes that, “AI is now being viewed as a new category of intelligence that can complement existing categories of emotional, social, spatial, and creative intelligence. What is transformational about Multiplicity is that it can enhance cognitive diversity, combining categories of intelligence in new ways to benefit all workers and businesses”.
This change will impact businesses in the following ways:
The structure of work will change, and there will be a need for greater flexibility and agility. Organizations will want employees who are prepared to give the agility and flexibility that AI systems need to be leveraged to their fullest potential.
Replacement of Existing Jobs
Humans will toned to increase their skill set in a bid to adapt with changing organization settings, structures and tools. Existing jobs will be replaced, and humans will lean towards analytics more than anything else.
One thing that AI promises to do is set the tone for a period of lifelong learning. AI is not a fad you can follow for a month or two and then abandon. With the rapid pace of technological evolution, organizations today identify it as a lifestyle shift that requires constant learning.
You can view the full report by Tata Communication by downloading it from here.
By Ronald van Loon