How do we adapt to an ever-changing workplace?
As we welcome this last wave of millennials and make way for Gen Xers to enter the workforce, our outlook on future 21st-century job stability is ominous at best.
A study by Darush Yazdanfar from Mid Sweden University examines the effect of artificial intelligence on jobs in the financial sector. His findings reveal that “people in the financial sector do feel a concern about the future job market, due to the advancement of technology and machines that can replace them with fewer expenses. This is mainly because of the advancement of artificial intelligence.”
The seasoned professional as well as the new job seeker have long acknowledged the omnipresent threat of technological advancements. These threats, specifically of the AI variety, have quickly encroached upon any company’s standing – no matter the industry.
And yet, when we fully evaluate the plights of the seasoned employee as well as the bright-eyed newcomer, they are but one and the same.
Old or young, many of us have an innate desire to be impactful in our work and in our interactions with others. And we’re all asking ourselves the same question:
How can I maintain job security in an ever-changing and unpredictable workplace?
At a loss are those just now breaking the surface of Corporate America. While there are currently more jobs than workers to fill them, we are experiencing a revolutionary bent towards tech jobs— the repercussions of which are being felt worldwide. Those entering technology R&D and IT positions have it made, while those entering the traditionally “man-powered” industries, unfortunately, face a declining market.
The vast majority of people in supporting roles are warned to be wary of the sustainability of their situation. The North Carolina Employment Projections Summary published by the NC Department of Commerce reveals, “projections for the Manufacturing industry show a decline of 2.2%, losing over 10,000 jobs in the next 9 years,” subsequently followed by a loss of 5,000 Production occupation jobs.
As technology constantly iterates a new version of the “workplace norm”, we must maintain the one element that preserves any corporate culture: human connection.
The one advantage humans have over robots is the ability to assess what is best for our people, not just our productivity.
Artificial Intelligence fills the gaps where humans would otherwise fall short, with the basis of AI literally being to compensate for human error. Many would argue that the contributions of AI are necessary enhancements to our current work environment and many times they are. But on the other hand, AI has a number of shortcomings that are fundamentally overlooked.
One of AI’s founders, John McCarthy, says, “The study [of AI] is to proceed on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.”
“…Any other feature of intelligence.” This bold statement ignores one very important component of human intelligence. Emotional Intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence doesn’t have feelings; no empathy, no creativity, and no personality. AI is based on calculations, algorithms, and analyses.
You can ask Alexa how “she” feels about starvation and she will reply. But the answer will not reflect her actual feelings because she doesn’t have any. Alexa is not capable of having authentic opinions because Alexa has no opinions whatsoever. She is programmed to reply to your question with what appears to be a subjective answer, but her answer is solely based on objective factors.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
All that being said, there’s no denying Artificial Intelligence will help us do many parts of our jobs much faster, easier and with fewer errors.
We simply cannot move forward if we focus solely on the negatives. Where does AI provide new and exciting advancements? Here’s a few great examples:
Improved sales and marketing with AI-infused customer-relationship management (CRM) systems—
These systems gather customer data from multiple communication channels to streamline and possibly automate the sales process. Salesforce is a great example of an AI-infused CRM as it helps small business owners analyze customer feedback and then automatically modify marketing and lead generation activities in response to that information.
Automated customer communications—
A common example of this automation is a chatbot. You’ve probably encountered a number of different chatbots on the bottom right of your screen when visiting a website. Based on the hundreds of interactions and customer inputs that came before you, the chatbot is ready to answer any and all of your questions. AI helps support a dedicated customer service and sales team.
Streamlining human resource processes—
Hiring, onboarding, and acquiring feedback from employees can all be automated. AI can save valuable time and resources by weeding the qualified individuals out of the hundreds, or even thousands that apply for a role.
Overall Competitive Advantage
Artificial Intelligence gives you and your business the ultimate competitive advantage. AI analyzes all digital content produced by your competitors, gathers the data, and compiles it into easy-to-read reports. AI competitive intelligence tools, such as Crayon, allow you to gather information and respond faster to changes in your industry.
Automating the sales process and instantaneously responding to consumer feedback keeps you one step ahead of your competition. Using features such as a chatbot show the client you care about their concerns and experience, which increases brand loyalty. Overall, Artificial Intelligence enhances the customer experience journey by streamlining processes and allowing for advancements throughout all aspects of your business.
Where do we go from here?
No matter your job title, chances are good that your professional (and personal) reality has been significantly altered by AI.
So how do we recreate this for ourselves in the age of AI? For better or for worse, it’s our prerogative to adapt to, and in some respects, overcome these new changes. As empaths, as caring individuals, and very simply as humans.
We must take both good and bad into account when making business decisions. Though AI may make the hiring process more streamlined, it will always prioritize a candidate who is more qualified over the one who is a better fit for your culture. And sometimes that’s just a gut feeling, not one that can be so “precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” AI can never replace that feeling.
Despite how deeply this technology is embedded in our day-to-day, we still possess a certain degree of control regarding how far it takes us as a society. But only if we remain vigilant and exert this power. By keeping abreast of AI and what it brings to the table, we can more adequately assess it’s gaps and shortcomings, as well as resist the areas where it clearly encroaches upon our own work.
Rather than work against it, we must work alongside it, if we are to truly harness the positive power of AI, and call into question the negative aspects that come with it.
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