Artificial Intelligence and the Workplace

Posted by Dieter Wood on 25/05/2018

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Artificial Intelligence is one of the most profound things that humanity is currently working on.

Put simply, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the development of technology or computer systems that are able to perform tasks usually requiring human intelligence.

Even though science-fiction films often portray AI as world-taking-over robots, it can encompass anything from SIRI to self-driving cars and Google’s search algorithms.  With it set to gain further traction in the coming years, it’s also going to have an effect on the way we work – but it’s not all doom and gloom; ironically, it could actually help to humanise the workplace.

With change comes risk

The rise of AI will eventually reduce the demand for some manual-based labour, entry level work, and tasks such as answering phones and other administrative duties. Instead, roles will start to shift to those that require more cognitive, managerial or planning skill sets (and others that can’t be performed by robotic technologies).

Regardless of whether a person’s role is more manual or knowledge-based, AI risks effecting the wellbeing of employees – particularly due to the over use of surveillance. For example, would you want to work in an office where every single keystroke you make on your computer is logged? Or would you want to wear a wristband that tracks your movement and nudges you into being more efficient?

Helping the workforce to augment itself

Despite the risks, with technological development also comes the ability for businesses to streamline their workforces – and therefore to enable each and every individual to reach their potential.  This is because AI will tackle mundane tasks and therefore free up time for team members to focus on more complex ideas.

With AI focusing on mundane tasks, employers will also start to place more value on uniquely human traits such as adaptability, critical thinking and emotional intelligence – something that is easily lost when people are tasked with repetitive and robotic work.

Placing people at the centre

AI has risks, but as does any other technological development – whether in the workplace or in other facets of life. The key to using AI for positive change lies in embracing its ability to bolster us as humans. By improving efficiency in the workplace, staff members will be left with more time for creativity and productivity.

In other words, rather than it being a competition between technology and people, AI could actually help to humanise the workforce and to place people at the centre – a philosophy we’re passionate about here at Interaction, and one that guides every single workplace design and build project we work on.

If you’re interested in technology, why not have a peek at the amazing workplace we created for Reach Robotics?