Artificial Intelligence will make us more human by eliminating workplace drudgery says new research
Institute of Management Studies
Written byOliver Fry
The arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace could triple productivity by automating more than 80 per cent of repetitive, process-oriented tasks - freeing human minds from tedium and enabling them to focus on creating and innovating, according to research from Goldsmiths, University of London and IPsoft.
The result will be a revolutionary shift in workplace productivity and a fundamental restructuring of work as we know it as humans are redeployed in higher-skill roles.
The study, FuturaCorp: Artificial Intelligence & The Freedom To Be Human paints a vision of ‘FuturaCorp’ – an idealised man + machine workplace of tomorrow.
The research describes job roles as comprised of a series of tasks. Some are repetitive and process-oriented (deterministic). Some require a human working in concert with machines (probabilistic). Some rely on the types of connections that can only be made by the human brain, from ideas generation to complex problem solving (cross-functional reasoning).
The Goldsmiths team predicts that, in the near future:
• More than 80% of deterministic tasks will be done by machines
• Probabilistic tasks will be shared 50:50 by machines and humans
• But humans will still carry out 80% of all cross-functional reasoning tasks
Dr. Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation and a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, says:
"AI will do far more than automate existing processes. It will free our minds from process-oriented repetition, enabling a refocusing of time and capital for our most human of pursuits: innovation and creativity. So the arrival of AI in workplaces will engender entirely new, unknown possibilities for humans and what they can achieve."
The study paints an optimistic picture of the future for individuals, pointing out that previous waves of automation have led to low-skill work being replaced by new, higher-skill jobs. It predicts that the arrival of the robots in the workplace will make us more human, pointing to crucial human skills that we will need to nurture to complement our digital colleagues.
Chetan Dube, CEO and President of IPsoft said:
“AI engenders emergent individual qualities which push us to access the more complex parts of our minds. When routine work is automated, we will be able – and required – to flex our most human of skills. To do what the machines can’t, and likely never will be able to do. The future of society relies on individuals accessing higher reasoning, critical thinking and complex problem solving skills.”
However, the need for rapid skill transformation could lead to a near-term skills shortage, according to the research.
The Goldsmiths team found little widespread evidence of businesses, universities and training institutions preparing individuals to manage these looming future shifts.
Finally, the research team developed in liaison with IPsoft a first-of-its-kind ‘organisational readiness equation’ for business leaders to assess how equipped their company is to take its first brave steps into an AI future. The equation scores an organisation in relation to the utopian vision of FuturaCorp, and helps leaders to determine what changes need to be made to push the business model towards this ideal.
Chetan Dube concludes:
“CEOs must be prepared to redefine their business in order to capitalise on the productivity potential of AI. That journey begins with fundamental change to organization structure, who they hire for which roles, and how they use the new relationship between humans and machines to maximize efficiency and innovation.”