I have written about artificial intelligence several times, for example in Future Friday: Artificial Intelligence and the HR world and Future Friday: The future of work definitely involves Artificial Intelligence. So why am I writing about it again? The answer to that question is found in the more widespread coverage that AI is receiving. It is being written about on a wider basis and many people still fear they may lose their job as a result of AI. However, I am seeing more and more prognostications that say humans will be helped more by AI, rather than being replaced by AI. I came across tw articles that make that point that I wanted to discuss.
A positive picture
A favorite futurist of mine, James Canton wrote the book Future Smart, that I have read and reread, as you can see in the photo. In a recent article, published on LinkedIn, Canton wrote: “We really do need to move on to adopt a more nuanced and balanced view of the future that does not demonize smart technology any more then it works to adopt a utopian techno-future of a over dependance on our innovation creations.” Toward this balance, he said there are five trends that will have an impact on our civilization. These are:
- AI’s as Human Mind Extension– AI is going to be able to help humans solve a lot of the problems of the world, as long as we program it correctly. He says “AI’s can contribute in positive ways to shaping the future–if we program them to augment our work to making this a better world.”
- AI’s are our Connected Mind Children– This is an issue of programming AI to understand us as humans. We need to connect AI to our humanity and our values in order to have it help us be more human. Rather than making us more “robotic” we need to make AI more human.
- AI as Work Partner– Canton says “We will learn to customize and have AI’s work along side us to invigorate ideas, innovations, discoveries that will make work of perpetual interest.” In HR especially, this would be a great benefit. Having AI do initial searches, conduct initial investigations, to act as a sounding-board for ideas are ways we can make effective use of AI, just as we did as when computers were initially used as tools. I am old enough to remember totally paper-driven HR departments. When we introduced desktops we embraced them as tools, just as we should AI. In fact Donal Daly, the CEO of Altify, and author of the book Tomorrow Today, How AI Impacts How We Work, Live, and Think, thinks that AI will be of the Augmented Intelligence variety rather than artificial intelligence.
- AI in Me– A controversial area that people have a knee-jerk reaction to is the concept of AI being embedded in our bodies. However, as Canton says, to have it “…address disease prevention, aging, cognitive decline and the limits of human beings will be a breakthrough in overall human quality of life refreshing memories, mobility and enabling productivity and creativity.” Eliminate your thoughts of AI making for a population of Borg-like employees. AI medical devices are already helping people survive life-threatening or altering conditions.
- AI Productivity Transforms the Future of Work– Canton has high hopes that AI being used in industries will actually free up money to be invested in endeavors that will provide career or alternative jobs for humans.
Not replaced but affected by
Writer Pierce Ivory, the Marketing Director at Advance Systems, writes in Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work, that what you think about the future of AI doesn’t really matter, not exactly the most positive of messages. He says “Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and will be used by companies. This leaves many employees with difficult decisions to make about their future and their careers.” Ivory is definitely not as positive as is Canton. He says “Artificial Intelligence is quickly changing the ‘’future of work,’’ and it will eliminate many aspects of most jobs. Even worse, as AI becomes more sophisticated, it will be able to overtake many of the difficult jobs.”
Ivory, however, is not all doom-and-gloom. He does tell us
“If AI can work faster than humans and make fewer errors, it stands to reason that it will also help business growth. The world currently needs something to propel economic growth and Artificial Intelligence may be the answer. A very positive overall point is that AI will change how work is done while it also will help drive the knowledge level of humans in business.”
As a result, he says “Futurists believe that mundane tasks will be worked by artificial intelligence technologies and human will do what AI cannot do: imagine, create and innovate.” I have emphasized that before in Future Friday: Will “Human skills” be enough in the future?
Will you be able to adapt?
Ivory does say that AI will force companies to evaluate jobs and alter them to take advantage of the power of AI. This will require employees to reevaluate their skills and abilities. If you are not working toward making the “human” components of your job more important then you may be on the outside looking in.