In the first few months of 2023, the human civilisation was apprised of how artificial intelligence and automation can become public-facing tools that may be used for a myriad of purposes in various industries. From conversational AI tools like ChatGPT to AI-backed robots that could soon walk our factories and help humans make the management of mundane tasks easier, there’s a lot of change coming our way, collectively. And it’s happening fast.
To understand what this means for you and and the rest of humanity, I spoke to industry insiders – Intel India’s HR Director Vijay Colaco, Dell Technologies’ IT Vice President Teja Manakame, and EY Global Delivery Services’ Technology Consulting Leader Sukesh Choubey.
What are tech giants envisioning right now – will AI take over jobs?
“I believe human labour cannot be replaced. There are still many tasks that require human intervention, such as creative problem-solving, empathy, and critical thinking, which machines are not capable of performing. Moreover, there are certain roles that cannot be fully automated, such as leadership, strategy, and relationship building, which are crucial to the success of any organisation,” said Intel India’s Vijay Colaco.
“Therefore, companies are looking for ways to seamlessly incorporate AI into their operations while also retaining human labour. For example, AI can be used to augment human decision-making, providing insights and recommendations that humans can then evaluate and act upon,” Colaco added.
Dell Technologies’ Teja Manakame said the following – “AI allows organizations to improve productivity, reduce risk, move faster, gain deeper insights and value from their data… With the constant acceleration of digital transformation and introduction of AI driven tools, organisations should focus on investing in upskilling and reskilling of their team members to keep up with the innovation pace.”
According to EY Global Delivery Services’ Sukesh Choubey, autonomous systems and robots could replace human workers in industries like transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture. “[Tech companies] are also developing AI-powered tools and platforms that can help humans work more efficiently and effectively, such as virtual assistants and machine learning algorithms.”
“The degree to which they rely on human labor versus AI-based systems will depend on various factors, including the nature of the industry, the specific tasks involved, and the preferences of customers and employees,” Choubey added.
The correlation between automation and employment
While Colaco believes that automation will replace the human workforce in specific areas, “automation might also bring a demand for a new set of employees with specific or newer skills,” adding that “AI-based tools are not necessarily designed to replace human workers, but rather to augment and enhance their abilities.”
Highlighting how automation’s impact on employment depends on specific sectors and the job roles involved, Sukesh Choubey said that “AI can enable new jobs that require skills in data analysis, machine learning, and natural language processing.”
“Various factors determine the adoption and use of AI technologies, including economic, social, and political factors, as well as the reliability and availability and the specific needs and preferences of businesses and consumers,” Choubey added.
According to Teja Manakame, “AI fluency is critical in today’s world, leveraging machine intelligence to manage workflows and accomplish tasks as well as knowing the limitations. Digital transformation is happening now and will continue. AI does not replace human, instead humans will upskill themselves to intelligently leverage AI to be more innovative.”
“Tasks that are manual in a predictable environment and basic data processing could easily be automated using robots and software. Meanwhile, other tasks like managing employees or doing physical work in a more complex environment, where much more interpersonal work and application of deep expertise are required, could prove harder to automate with current technology,” said Vijay Colaco, HR Director, Intel India.
“Industries seeing significant adoption of automation technologies such as robotics, AI, and machine learning are manufacturing, retail, transportation, healthcare, and logistics in areas where tasks and processes are predictable in nature,” he added.
“In manufacturing, for example, the use of robots and other automation technologies has already led to significant increases in efficiency and productivity, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. Similarly, in transportation and logistics, the use of autonomous vehicles and drones is expected to revolutionise the way goods are transported and delivered,” explained Sukesh Choubey, Technology Consulting Leader, EY Global Delivery Services.
“In customer service, chatbots and other AI-powered tools are already being used to handle routine inquiries and tasks, and this trend is expected to continue as AI technology improves,” he added.
According to Teja Manakame, Vice President, IT, India, Dell Technologies, emerging technologies could have the most impact in the following industries – healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and financial services.
What can people in tech do to upskill?
Teja Manakame suggests “organisations need to invest in developing human capital, enabling team members to acquire new skills in this data-driven economy,” namely in data analytics, coding, critical and innovative thinking, cybersecurity, adaptability to new changes, and effectively leveraging new technologies like multicloud, etc.
As Sukesh Choubey explained, “people in tech industries can also focus on developing their so-called “soft skills” that are difficult for machines to replicate, such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, and emotional intelligence,” in addition to diversifying their skill set and exploring opportunities in related areas. “Someone with expertise in software development may also be able to apply their skills in finance, healthcare, or education, where there is a growing demand for technology-driven solutions,” he explained.
“While academic credentials are important, many recruiters have begun looking at particular skill sets instead. The key to technological progress is reskilling and upskilling workers in areas of need, including AI, ML, DevOps, programming languages, cloud computing, etc.,” said Vijay Colaco.
The workplace of the future
While predicting the exact state of the future might look like is difficult, Intel India’s Vijay Colaco believes “based on current trends and taking into consideration significant demographic shifts, technological advancements, and accelerating economic and sociocultural changes, it is safe to say that the future is much brighter, and hybrid and flexible work models are here to stay.”
EY GDS’ Sukesh Choubey said that the future workplaces will see increased use of automation and AI, flexible work arrangements, greater emphasis on lifelong learning, the use of virtual and augmented reality, and sustainability. “The workplace of the future will be shaped by a combination of technological change, shifting social and cultural norms, and evolving economic and political conditions,” he said.
Dell India’s Teja Manakame echoed a similar sentiment, stating that “in the do-anything-from-anywhere world, the future of work is evolving, and as we design for a hybrid world, technology rather than physical workspace, will increasingly define the employee experience.”
What are your thoughts on automation, artificial intelligence, and the future of workplaces in the years to come? Let us know in the comments below. For more in the world of technology and science, keep reading Indiatimes.com.