Technology can become a powerful catalyst for human creativity to drive outcomes.
By Ratna Mehta
Technological advancement is a double-edged sword; while it oils the wheels of advancement and innovation leading to breakthroughs that improve efficiency, rationalise cost and improve the quality of life, it has its fallouts, i.e. job losses, health issues and environmental pollution.
Man vs Machine
With the rise of AI, there is increasing anxiety around massive job displacement. This is substantiated by widespread research:
- Accountants have a 95% chance of losing jobs
- 29% of legal sector jobs could be automated in 10 years
- Intelligent agents and robots could replace 30% of the world’s current human labour
Being a trader was an esteemed profession, but with AI systems that can analyse information from markets, social media, corporate filings and economic conditions to quickly decipher trades, these systems can trade better than any human.
As per analysis firm Oxford Economics, up to 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could be replaced with robots by 2030. Each robot impacts 1.6 jobs, with lower-skilled regions seeing a higher impact.
Man and Machine Joining Forces
How we use technology depends on our perspective; we can use it to ‘replace’ humans or we can leverage it to ‘augment’ humans. Enhanced productivity leads to economic growth, which in turn can fund new job creation opportunities.
A Harvard study involving 1,500 companies shows that significant performance improvement is experienced by firms which combine the forces of man and machine. Man and AI can collaborate to enhance each other’s complementary strengths: leadership, team spirit, creativity and social skills of the former, and speed, scalability and data crunching capabilities of the latter.
Also, technological advancements are opening up new areas which did not exist before like big data analysis, data security, decision support analysis, predictive analysis. This will boost the requirement of different type of skillsets and also drive demand for specialization. Data scientist was an unknown term a decade ago, but today almost every business, from consumer brands to online pharmacies, needs data scientists to interpret customer data to design product and marketing strategies. Coding is another evolving segment today – several startups have mushroomed to capitalise on this trend and are tapping kids early-on. We have seen the likes of Vedantu and White Hat Jr ride this wave.
As per some of the leading digital strategists, customer service is one of the functions which is likely to see higher AI adoption. Chatbots can be effectively used along with a human interface to answer repetitive questions, reduce the handling time and improve customer satisfaction.
Today technology is being increasingly used to assist doctors – whether it is retrieving digital records, using data analysis for diagnosis or improving precision in surgeries. However, can robots completely replace doctors? Possibly no – the human touch is very important, especially in healthcare. But it can definitely drive innovation to improve the healthcare infrastructure and improve outcomes.
Technology vs Creativity
Technology can never replace human creativity and EQ. Right brain dominated skills are likely to thrive in the changing skill landscape. Theory of left vs right brain was popularised by noble prize winner Roger Sperry in 1981. According to his theory, the left brain is responsible for logic, analysis, reasoning and understanding of numbers, while right brain drives creativity, emotions and big picture thinking. While the left brain dominated people may have a better resume in terms of academic achievements and work experience, right brain people are driven by original and creative expression, which will increasingly become relevant as technology takes over technical and repetitive tasks.
AI-driven innovations are relevant, adaptive and seeing increasing adoption, but AI cannot do everything that humans can do:
- AI cannot think or create
- AI cannot conceptualize, do complex strategic planning or take decisions based on EQ
- AI cannot deal with situations where there is an absence of data
- AI cannot, unlike humans, feel or interact with empathy and compassion
Some of the jobs which require creativity, empathy and are operating in unstructured environments cannot be replaced by AI – human resources, writing, coaching, psychiatry, therapy, management, science, teaching, artist, etc.
What business leaders need to understand?
Supplementing the WONDER called ‘Human Being’ with ‘Technology’.
- How can technology be used to boost innovation rather than just viewing it as a tool to replace jobs?
- How to restructure the organisation and the skill-set of the workforce so that technology can drive results while human workforce can enhance results by strategic and humane interventions?
Need of the Hour
Our education systems need to adapt and change to prepare our kids for the future of jobs. Creative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and the ability to do things differently are some of the skills which are needed to deal with the ever-evolving scenario. What is relevant today, may not be relevant tomorrow and thus, what is needed is not content knowledge alone, but the ability to adapt and drive innovative thinking.
The current workforce needs to reflect on the future of their job and
- Reskill/upskill to prepare themselves for the future
- Adapt to the new technologies and leverage the opportunities created by it
Source: HR Economic Times