March 4, 2016Liza Benkovitch
There’s a new way to work: The “future of work”. It’s a thought provoking and evolving concept redefining players and drivers in the workforce. It’s part of a larger trend known as digital disruption, and it will challenge the way we think and work. I find digital disruption a fascinating topic because it’s really a double-edged sword. While technology, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, helps to streamline and automate processes, it could replace jobs in the future. It also creates loopholes in cyber security and surveillance. There’s a lot of brain power focused on how to deal with cyber, physical and financial security in the corporate world as everything is going digital.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been embedded in our daily lives for quite a while. It does not have to come in the form of a space galactic hologram as portrayed in sci-fi films. It can be as simple as asking your smartphone to look up information: “Siri, look up Bill Gates on LinkedIn?” Siri is an artificial intelligence tool, also known as machine learning that has evolved substantially over the last few years. AI tools are great at making precise decisions, but less so at dealing with senses and emotions. While Siri may be helpful in finding information, she might not distinguish if you are sad or happy, just yet.
Artificial intelligence in the workplace is even more fascinating because of its subtle footprint. We hear about AI but do we really know how it’s used? For example, there’s a neat concept called Algorithm HR. Companies use artificial intelligence tools to automate hiring processes. An article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that software is 25% better at hiring than humans. That is an impressive number considering how difficult it is to find talent and recruit.
Robotics does pose a threat to some labour markets, especially to the low-skilled workforce. However, it creates a drive for ‘raising the bar’ in education and skills. STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) knowledge is already used in “75% of fastest growing occupations.” Accenture research shows that people are embracing digital tools, and 71% of workers are learning new digital skills. In addition, the future of work does not necessarily mean people competing with robots, but more so about people using machines to do more interesting and rewarding work. It will ultimately lead to creating new job opportunities and fueling our entrepreneurial spirit!
The more obvious issue of interconnectivity and high-tech growth is security. In the real world you can watch out for criminals by being ‘street smart’; the Internet is an open sesame with nowhere to hide. As digitalization transforms the workplace, administrators and individuals need to protect data from possible hacks, cyber spies, exploits and government surveillance. While we are connected, we need to be protected.
As you can see, digital disruption is real. Whether good or bad, it’s here to stay. Technology is evolving at the speed of light and it’s completely changing our environments at work and at home. Being able to adapt to these new changes will be the ultimate test of how resilient we are to a new digital world.
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