Within the forces that will shape the future of work, technology has a very relevant role as a facilitator of new ways of working.
Artificial Intelligence and robotics, digital platforms, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, Blockchain and other technological developments will bring about profound changes to the way we work. Technological innovations have impact on the nature of our work in two complementary ways:
a.- Technology as a job performance tool.
b.- As new job creation driver—jobs that would not exist otherwise.
The future of work will not tell a story of machines replacing humans, but rather, machines complementing humans.
Technology as a job performance tool
Technology applied to work encourages productivity, flexibility, agility and efficiency. Some tools have changed the way we work now, and they will continue to evolve and integrate:
- Collaborative software. Real-time collaboration and sharing enabled by applications such as Microsoft Teams or Slack have made collaborative software widespread during the pandemic. This is just the beginning: collaborative platforms are starting to introduce artificial intelligence—bots that can carry out planning tasks or suggest actions. Along with data science, we will soon see solutions to guide professionals through more agile decision making.
- Cloud of Things. From collaborative software platforms to quantum computing, social networks and streaming platforms, cloud computing is becoming a fixture of our lives. It already accounts for 94% of computing power and global traffic in data centers. The evolution towards Edge Computing and from there to cloud of things, enabled by 5G, brings the promise of a work revolution:
These are just some examples of how the way we work will evolve:
- Virtual meetings with holograms, real-time collaboration to close agreements or sales, increasingly smart factories with technicians who can control them remotely, remote medical assistance with immediate access to relevant patient health data, etc.
- Virtual and augmented reality. This technology will mark a before and after in many jobs. Aided by robotics and enabled by 5G, a surgical intervention will be carried out remotely, among other things.
Where else would it have a profound impact? It will have a profound impact on specialist technical services, medicine and health, complex machinery operations or real estate.
As part of augmented reality, some solutions are rising: holograms for meetings or to present products and projects. Big Tech supports holograms as part of the day-to-day at the office, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. There are some startups in the hologram innovation race, such as PORTL, which has signed an agreement with the AI startup StoryFile to create AI-powered conversational holograms.
Artificial Intelligence (AI). It will be part of our job performance in all areas: from the sophisticated personal assistants that can manage our agenda, look for and classify in real-time the data that we need and do the job of a language interpreter, to the new and innovative business and client relationship models enabled by AI. There is basically no industry where AI has not been applied. Any routine task can be optimized with AI.
A recent article by the MIT technology review mentioned that artificial intelligence is achieving record productivity growth: developing machine learning algorithms has enabled companies to tackle challenges from forecasting to diagnostics, optimizing processes and detecting new business opportunities. Cloud solutions make these innovations accessible to SMEs.
Technology as a new job creation driver
They will all result from innovative business models and new organizational designs leveraged by technology. The project 100 Jobs for the Future, developed by Deakin University in Australia, develops a list of 100 jobs of the future. Most are in the field of technology and personal well-being, such as AI algorithm interpreters, augmented reality life designer, behavior forecasting analyst or hologram stylist.
When we talk about technology and work, the role of Artificial Intelligence in the near future is crucial. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies claim to be the most powerful tools to expand knowledge, increase prosperity and make the human experience richer.
However, there is a very relevant discussion around the risks and opportunities for the job market brought about by the massive adoption of digitalization in general and AI in particular.
It is quite clear that machines will have impact on all jobs, one way or another: from freelancers in the gig economy to lawyers, doctors and CEOs. According to McKinsey’s report Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation”, up to 375 million people around the world may need to recycle and upskill by 2030. Besides, and based on a Gallup survey, 70% of employees believe that artificial intelligence in the long-term will destroy more jobs than it will create.
In order to avoid this, all social agents must adopt strategies to enable a future of shared prosperity.
It is on social agents, and ultimately governments that the productivity increase and new wealth generated by AI solutions spread across all standards of life.
A bright professional future requires to develop and strengthen what makes human beings different from AI. Andy Chan, AI expert at Avalara, explains it quite well in this video.