What's next for artificial intelligence in the workplace?

What's next for artificial intelligence in the workplace?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed the way we live our lives, from where we travel to what we watch, listen to, read and buy. It’s even having a growing influence on the way we do business and interact with and within the workplace. 

AI innovation is also leading to an increase in demand for data skills. 

According to Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution, “business leaders and employees alike predict that data literacy - defined as the ability to read, work with, analyse and communicate with data - will be the most in-demand skill by 2030”. 

Here are four ways AI is influencing work right now:

1. AI is helping us understand recruitment bias

Although AI isn’t going to be replacing human recruiters any time soon, it is helping us to understand and eliminate unconscious bias in the recruitment process. 

Unconscious bias, otherwise known as implicit bias, is when we act on deep rooted biases, stereotypes, and attitudes. Among other things, this can lead to people getting overlooked in the recruitment process and discriminated against. 

AI can actually replicate bias. But, when used “correctly”, it can help us begin to unpick it. AI’s efficacy at eradicating bias depends on how the programme has been developed. A collaborative approach between developers and hiring experts is key. 

AI can anonymise job applications, enabling hirers to screen applicants more objectively. It can also leverage data to attract more diverse talent to an organisation. 

The AI-powered app, Siimee, reduces bias by prioritising skills and goals over ‘identifiers’. An applicant's name is withheld until they match with an opportunity, while interests, skills and aspirations inform the algorithm, enabling recruiters to make informed decisions.

According to its founder:

“Siimee is a recruiting app that directly connects candidates and employers by creating a one-to-one matching experience. It highlights users’ backgrounds and interests to opportunities while eliminating early bias that historically occurs in the recruiting process.”

2. AI is freeing up human time

AI companies are constantly coming up with ways to automate typically time-intensive tasks across a variety of industries. As well as being quicker, these AI solutions save employees time and are often more accurate because they eliminate human error. 

Take the legal profession, for instance. 

AI is helping litigators review contracts and conduct legal research, and some tools can even help forecast the outcome of litigation. Elsewhere in the profession, AI is used by lawyers to analyse large IP portfolios and gain insights from the content.

Meanwhile, in the healthcare sector, AI and robotics are already being deployed to diagnose patients, develop medications, improve communication between the doctor and patient, transcribe prescriptions, treat patients remotely and train new professionals. 

3. AI is creating brand new jobs 

Some people worry that AI will replace too many jobs, leaving people out of work. 

But the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, technology will create at least 12 million more jobs than it destroys. Roles experiencing a growth in demand include AI and machine learning specialists, and digital and marketing strategy specialists.

To ensure nobody gets left behind, employers must collaborate with governments, educators and nonprofits to focus on upskilling and reskilling existing employees. (Importantly, skills training should be viewed as an investment in the future, as opposed to an expense). 

Coworking and flexible workspaces will play a key role in upskilling employees, with many already offering skills training programmes to members and the wider community. 

As our workplaces become more automated, skills such as leadership, creativity and emotional intelligence are becoming more valuable.

Interestingly, a recent study published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal discovered that emotional intelligence - i.e. the ability to perceive, manage, and regulate emotions - was a stronger predictor of entrepreneurial success than general mental ability. 

Daniel Goleman wrote a book about emotional intelligence in the 1990s, titled Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. He splits the concept into five sections:

  • Self-awareness - recognising your emotions, strengths and values, and how they affect others.

  • Self-regulation - managing your emotions, controlling your impulses and adapting to change.

  • Motivational skills - using your emotions to strive towards a goal and stay motivated when presented with roadblocks. 

  • Empathy - understanding and relating to the feelings and circumstances of others.

  • Social skills - the ability to manage relationships.

4. AI is shaping how we utilise the office

AI is also being used to help workspace operators become more efficient. For instance, you can use AI-powered data tools to automate the tracking of carbon emissions throughout your value chain, and predictive AI can help you forecast future emissions.

At Nexudus, we’re leveraging data and AI to help operators maximise profit and potential. Established in 2012, we’ve got a decade of data under our belt. This puts us in the unique position of being able to extract clear and actionable customer behaviour-based insights that operators can draw on to improve their business strategy and processes. 

Since 2021, Nexudus’ data experts have been experimenting with AI models that identify patterns and trends relating to how members and occupiers use their workspaces and the amenities within them. Using this data, we’re creating a set of actionable insights to enable operators to make smarter decisions: decisions that increase demand for services and, ultimately, boost business revenue.

Here’s what we mean by actionable insights:

Ultimately, organisations that replace human resources with AI alone can expect to see only short-term gains in success, if any. That’s because technology doesn't have the same capacity for emotional intellect, leadership or creativity. 

AI isn’t supposed to replace workers, but to improve how they operate by freeing them up to focus on innovation and other value-added work. (This is known as “augmented intelligence”.) To find out more about how AI can be applied in a business context, check out some of the beginners AI courses on offer on Coursera

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