Tim Jonas our consultant managing the role
Author: Tim Jonas
Posting date: 9/4/2018 12:57 PM
This Monday was Labor Day; a tribute to the American worker. Established over a century ago as the Industrial Age got under way, the holiday was meant to showcase their strength, freedom, and leadership. Now, as the Fourth Industrial Revolution ushers in a new age of robotics, automation, and digitization many workers may wonder how they’ll fit into the new workplace.

These concerns are being addressed in a land known for its startup and innovation culture. San Francisco. For 3 days, the city will host an Artificial Intelligence Conference focused on how to use emerging AI techniques in real-world implementations.

Will Robots Take My Job?

Movies and books tend to offer cautionary tales of problems which might occur if rapid changes go unchecked. It’s unlikely, however, that you’ll find yourself fending off a group of Androids or Terminators any time soon. AI, like all forms of progress, is intended to help improve the quality of human life.

Imagine, for a moment, life before washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, and mobile phones. Not only were these items intended to improve lives, but to give people more time for other things like creativity and cognitive thinking.

At the AI Conference in San Francisco, Adam Cutler of IBM Design is taking a deeper dive into how human and machine can form meaningful relationships. It is one thing to respond to machines like Alexa or Siri, who are boxes with voices, but what about when there are more Sophias in the world? Sophia is the first ‘robot citizen’ created by Hanson Robotics. She looks, talks, and reasons much like we do.

Though repetitive jobs such as manufacturing may be more affected as robots will be able to make things for longer, at a faster pace, there will still need to be oversight. Even here, there will still be a need for humans to make higher level decisions. Humans are able to gauge reactions whereas robots will look only at the data.  

How Businesses Can Integrate AI into their Enterprise

In the world of startup cultures, AI may be seamlessly integrated and built into the culture or around it, but what about legacy companies? Those who have been following the same patterns for 25, 50, or 100 years?

In Taming dragons: a breakthrough approach to AI for business leaders, the discussion focuses on how to implement enterprise AI into businesses. Every new technique we introduce is nuanced and massaged to make the pill of change easier to swallow. But, if we grab for every shiny new toy without fully understanding why we need it and how it can help us improve our bottom line, we risk either misusing it or tossing it aside because it didn’t deliver as promised. 

What Can I do to Futureproof My Job and Myself?

Ultimately, the key is to always be learning. Understand the deeper changes and effects of AI in the marketplace and figure out where else you might be able to use your skills. Diversify. Get creative. Determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. See if you can’t spin those threats into opportunities. 

Technical skills are high priority, of course; computer science, Data Science, and Natural Language Processing are all woven into the tapestry of today’s job market. But, as AI capabilities continue to grow, it’s skills such as communication, creativity, empathy, and leadership where humans will continue to have the edge.

Want to learn more and see if we have a role for you? Check out our current vacancies. See where Harnham can take you.

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