There's no doubt that AI will have an impact on workplaces in the future. While there is the fear that AI will replace humans in the workforce, a study Tata Communications released yesterday, envisions a positive impact of AI in the future workplace.

Based on input from 120 global business leaders, the study identifies opportunities for businesses and employees based on insights from leaders such as Tony Blair, executive chair of the Institute of Global Change and former UK Prime Minister, who predicts that "AI will allow us to do what it is that we are uniquely meant to do: focus on high-level thinking, strategy, and paving the way for innovation."

The study revealed four benefits of AI including creating new roles for employees (75%); enhancing employee engagement (93%); facilitating team composition, organisation, and communication (80%), and improving decision making (93%). Additionally, leaders who valued cognitive diversity in organisations also believed that AI could impact postitive change.

The report also put a spotlight on 12 jobs, suggesting examples of how the roles could be enhanced by AI in the future. Here are the five jobs Human Resources finds the most relevant for leaders like you.

#1 Human resource leaders

The role of human resource leaders has become increasingly difficult. With the popularity of the sharing economy, HR organisations and departments are finding themselves in a constant state of change. Keeping workers engaged and invested in fulltime employment is becoming increasingly difficult.

AI has the potential to track organisational cues and critical performance metrics, enabling HR leaders to anticipate conflicts before they arise, offering advice, training opportunities or suggestions for intervention by human managers.

#2 CEOs

Making decisions is the primary job of a CEO, for whom it is vital to avoid bias and remain objective. In the future, an AI-based system could support this working as an “AI-based devil’s advocate” that challenges decisions with insightful questions, exposing the CEO with alternative viewpoints, throwing “high-quality curveballs” to enable more creative and critical thinking. Such an AI system could surface contrarian perspectives to counter: feelings of intimidation among junior workers, confirmation bias and groupthink.

An “AI-based devil’s advocate” might use natural language processing and machine learning to analyse emails and meeting transcripts, learning to be sensitive to keywords and trends so that it could generate periodic reminders about the big picture (“Elephant in the Room”) and alerts that challenge unanimous and potentially false assumptions (“Emperor Has No Clothes”). In the future, AI systems could also help CEOs assemble teams with cognitive diversity in mind, teaming people who think differently in order to solve problems in new and innovative ways.

#3 Office managers

Office space is expensive and many companies promote working remotely (either at home, when travelling or at customer locations). Sharing desks and office space can be extremely efficient but requires complex scheduling. AI systems could learn work patterns to optimally allocate desk space on demand, making better use of physical space while keeping workers inspired, engaged and productive.

#4 Project managers

Recording notes of every good idea and then indexing them in a centralised location takes a certain level of intentionality and discipline. However, AI-enhanced note-taking could save time, help generate more ideas and lead to increased ROI during meetings. So much time is spent in conference calls and meetings, leaving precious little time for creative work. In the future, AI algorithms could communicate with each other to determine the best time of day to schedule calls and meetings.

#5 Computer programmers

Programming languages change on a regular basis. A professional programmer has a hard time keeping up to date with new capabilities and libraries, and could risk becoming irrelevant in the workforce. An AI system could track innovations that are starting to become prevalent. By identifying the trends at large, new academic developments or new innovations, the system could suggest online courses to take, benefitting both the programmer and the business.

Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley professor and co-author of the report, noted" "the prevalent narrative around AI has focussed on a ‘Singularity’ – a hypothetical time when artificial intelligence will surpass humans. But there is a growing interest in ‘Multiplicity’, where AI helps groups of machines and humans collaborate to innovate and solve problems. This survey of leading executives reveals that Multiplicity, the positive and inclusive vision of AI, is gaining traction."

Vinod Kumar, CEO and managing director at Tata Communications, who co-authored the report, pointed out: "AI is now being viewed as a new category of intelligence that can complement existing categories of emotional, social, spatial, and creative intelligence. What is transformational about Multiplicity is that it can enhance cognitive diversity, combining categories of intelligence in new ways to benefit all workers and businesses.”

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