Two Ways AI will Help to Create More Meaningful Jobs
What are you working for?
The answers may vary a lot depending on the group or individual that you’re posing the question to. Millennial and Gen Z would probably answer around their personal aspirations, while their senior counterparts may tend to focus more on family and social responsibilities.
It is a simple but very important question to ask. Based on it, we start to design all the employee experience programs. However, the reality often tells us that it is not possible to meet the individual needs of every employee.
The good news is, studies increasingly show that some important trends that are shaping the future of our workplace – such as gig economy, flatter organizational structure – could potentially help employees to perform more valuable and meaningful jobs in the future. The introduction of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) could be another example.
The impact of AI on work, jobs and people is one of the most controversial topics in recent years. However, some emotional changes are taking place when people talk about it. While the anxiety that AI will automate jobs in large scale dominated in previous years, people tend to focus more on how human employees can better do their jobs with the support of AI now.
The change is witnessed in MIT Technology Review’s research program Asia’s AI Agenda in partnership with ADP. When the study was first conducted in 2016, some 70% of HR executives surveyed felt that AI and robotics adoption would result in significant job losses in Asia over the next five years. In this year’s report, interestingly, almost 60% of survey respondents believe that job roles have been enhanced since the introduction of AI, and only 4% hold the view that job roles are diminished by AI.
A possible explanation could be that people are getting a clearer picture of how AI will impact the workplace over the years, and also the early adoption of automation and AI at work has mostly generated positive impact.
Transactional and repetitive tasks will be automated
The most common scenario that automation will be used at work is to eliminate transactional work and replace repetitive tasks. According to 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, 62% of respondents claim that they’re currently doing so. With most of the repetitive tasks being automated by AI, human employees will be freed from those tasks to do more valuable and creative work.
While we still need to look at the ways how we can reskill people that currently run those tasks, Scott Park, president and CEO of Doosan Botcat that MIT interviewed put forward an interesting question, “how ethical is it to have people doing menial tasks, such as three-way matches on invoices, when we have computers to do that more easily?”
Jobs will be augmented
AI will not only replace some roles, it will basically affect every job to some extent and there will be an increasing need to work “shoulder to software.”
Undoubtedly, AI have some obvious strengths that their human counterparts will never surpass, such as the ability to process massive data in real time. In this way, AI will complement and enhance human employees at their roles, and help people to achieve more or even something never imagined before with technology-created capacity.
Still, employees will be able to develop themselves further at some key skills such as creativity, problem-solving and interaction with other people that are not easily replaced by AI, but can be well-supported and enhanced by technology.
Whether it is replacing repetitive tasks or enhancing people at their work, we’ve seen a possibility that employees will be able to do more meaningful jobs with AI. As a HR leader, how you can train and develop your employees to ensure a smooth transition, and more importantly, help them to achieve what they want in the process. Read MIT’s report here to get your sights!