2021 Vision: The augmented workforce is the future of work
Editor's Note: This blogpost was first published in August 2020, and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
The COVID-19 pandemic have forced businesses worldwide to rethink workplace and collaboration. A Gartner survey reported that after the pandemic, 80% of companies will allow employees to work remotely part-time, while 47% will allow employees to work remotely full-time.
While many have made the shift with ease, others are struggling to adapt to a more digital-based workspace and outsourcing work that can be automated to an AI-based model.
In the past, the topic of AI in the workplace has been portrayed in a negative light. Will it take jobs away from people? Will it dehumanise the workforce? Whatever your opinions may be, we can all agree on one thing — the process has been disruptive.
Research vice president of Gartner, Svetlana Sircular, says, "Many significant innovations in the past have been associated with a transition period of temporary job loss, followed by recovery, then business transformation and AI will likely follow this route.”
Gartner predicts that moving forward, AI will produce more jobs than it displaces.
Combining human and artificial intelligence, dubbed “AI augmentation”, is what brings the most value. Instead of taking jobs away from people, AI-enabled technology can assist people to be more efficient. Instead of dehumanising the workforce, these AI technologies allow people to collaborate better, work better, make decisions and reduce human error.
With that being said, here are some AI-based technologies that will grace the workforce in the near future:
1. Human Resources - recruitment and onboarding
Companies can now use AI to pre-screen candidates prior to inviting them for interviews. AI algorithms can compare candidates with that of existing employees who have succeeded. If it finds that the candidate is not well suited to the role, the algorithm can then match the person with other existing open roles within the system.
Multinational company Unilever hires thousands of people a year. To improve its hiring process, they use a selection of games that measures a candidate’s aptitude, logic, reasoning and aptitude for risk. Machine learning algorithms then assess results against suitability of the role they have applied for.
Using an automated screening process will not only avoid demographic biases such as gender or race, but saves hiring manager’s time that would otherwise be filled with sifting through hundreds of applicants.
- Meeting minutes made easy - COVID-19 number one software, Zoom, contains a feature called AISense, which automatically transcribes meetings and publishes them as searchable text. What an easy way to take notes!
- Office maintenance - With an increased need for hygienic shared spaces, SAMi by Viana™ a product of meldCX uses computer vision to monitor touches within a public space, alerting cleaning staff when a certain threshold of touches have been reached. This gives assurance that office spaces are being cleaned properly and regularly, and all touched surfaces all tracked and documented.
3. Customer Service & Support - smart chatbots
AI-powered chatbots are able to learn from conversations of real salespeople, marketers and customer service reps, and over time be able to answer questions as accurately as the most knowledgeable employee in the room. An example of this is Kayak’s Facebook Messenger chatbot, which is able to assist customers in finding curated information on flights, hotels and activities, and get real-time information on their bookings.
4. Marketing & Sales - audience measurement
If your business is B2C, measure your physical spaces like how you would measure a website! Viana™ a product of meldCX is an AI-powered audience measurement tool that allows you to gather anonymous demographics data to measure on-site content effectiveness or in-store product placements.
5. IT & Security - identifying malware and cyber attacks
Have you ever been contacted by your bank, notifying you that someone may have used your card fraudulently? If so, your bank may have likely used AI to detect these fraudulent transactions!
The similar technology may be applied to the workplace, helping IT professionals identify security risks to keep customer, employee and company data safe.
AI-powered software can detect suspicious activity amongst millions of signals in the system -- something that humans would never be able to detect in real-time.