Technology that will replace human efficiency in the workplace

The concern that human beings will soon be replaced or made redundant by an all-knowing artificial intelligence (AI) technology has been allayed by a new report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). If anything, people will get better at delivering their tasks in the workplace with the help of AI.

Artificial intelligence refers to the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

In the report titled ‘2018 AI Predictions: 8 insights to shape business strategy’, PwC acknowledge that AI may seem complex but it doing far more in some areas, and far less in others.

The report predicted eight AI trends for the next 12 months. First, AI will encourage a gradual evolution of job market that will be positive with the right preparation. Although jobs will be lost as a result of AI integration in businesses, there will be new jobs to replace the old ones. Organizations that will survive and succeed are those that realize the need to change how they work.

“Most organizations like to set boundaries by putting specific teams in charge of certain domains or projects and assigning a budget accordingly. But AI requires multidisciplinary teams to come together to a solve problem. Afterward team members then move on to other challenges but continue to monitor and perfect the first,” PwC noted.

The report predicts that AI – rather than displace people – will augment human productivity. Three ways that will happen include automating processes too complex for older technologies; identifying trends in historical data to create business value; and providing forward-looking intelligence to strengthen human decisions.

There are industries that will provide test grounds for practical AI such as healthcare; automotive; financial services; transportation and logistics; technology, media, and telecommunications; retail and consumer; energy; and manufacturing.

“Leaders do not need to adopt AI for AI’s sake. Instead, when they look for the best solution to a business need, AI will increasingly play a role” the report stated.

For organizations that are yet to reap the benefits of their big data, PwC predicts that AI will provide the payoff. With AI, many companies are beginning to take advantage of new tools and technical advancements like easier methods for mining less-structured data, including natural language processing for text indexing and classification; enterprise application suites that incorporate more AI; emerging data lake-as-a-service platforms; public clouds that can take advantage of different kinds of data; and automated machine leaning and data management.

Businesses that that have addressed the challenge of data governance for one application will have the advantage for the next level. According to the report, these companies will be on their way to developing best practices for effectively leveraging their data.

Integrating AI into more specific areas will require more than the knowledge and skill possessed by core techies or AI specialists.

AI is particular becoming more user friendly, the researchers noted. This is evidence in the fact that people no longer require knowledge on code writing to work with AI applications.

“The exact level of knowledge required will vary, but we can broadly divide AI’s demand on human knowledge into three categories. First, most members of an AI-enabled enterprise will need some basic knowledge of AI’s value as well as what it can cannot do with data. Second, even the most mature AI program will always need a small team of computer scientists. The third groups, which many organizations are not yet paying attention to, are AI-savvy functional specialists,” the report stated.

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