If you’ve noticed the ratio of automated cashpoints to human workers increasing each time you shop for groceries, you’ll already be aware of the impact of workplace automation. Improved customer experience is often offset by replacement of human roles. But there are others ways that technological advances might actually make work more pleasant. Here are four weird and wonderful ways tech will transform work.
Eradication of Bad Managers
Poor managers demotivate staff and create toxic environments. But Artificial Intelligence (AI) will replace bad managers because machines are now faster and more effective at making accurate hiring decisions and creating high-performance teams, so managers will have to develop emotional intelligence and empathy if they want to differentiate themselves from machines and continue to draw wages. This development will make working life easier for staff because it makes it more likely that they’ll be working for bosses with genuine leadership skills.
Middle managers aren’t the only employees who should be looking over their shoulders due to the rise of the robots. AI could soon replace elite consultants in sectors like financial services. A new partnership allows clients of financial services organisation UBS to ask Amazon’s Alexa financial and economic questions. Alexa then gathers the information from the UBS chief investment office and it’s relayed to the customer in a split second. Because AI data analysis is faster, cheaper and more efficient than the human equivalent, customers could soon be relying on Alexa for more complex advice on market fluctuations and trading stocks and shares. This might be bad news for highly paid consultants but should make reliable financial advice more accessible for a range of investors.
HR departments can spend most of their time and resources completing tiresome tasks like payroll and tax compliance. But outsourced HR services can use human resources software to take care of these tasks extremely efficiently. Smaller firms might dispense with HR staff entirely if they engage these services — but staff in larger organisations will be able to concentrate on the human qualities their roles demand. And there will be no need for them to mediate between bad managers and stressed employees once AI has sent defective managers to the scrapheap — freeing up even more time for work involving soft skills.
The UK state pension age is set to reach 68 by the year 2037. For many workers this equates to decades of toil with less time to enjoy the fruits of their labour. But the TUC union believes that AI could reduce the state pension age and allow us to retire early — provided productivity gains from automation are shared evenly and not ploughed straight into profits. Increased revenue could also be used to improve the pay and conditions for roles still filled by human staff. So if the government and private industry operates ethically, machines could allow us to take a well-earned permanent vacation.
These four weird and wonderful ways tech will transform work should make us embrace rather than fear it.
How do you think tech will transform work? Share your opinion in the comments section.by