AI, Bots, and The Future of Work

June 05, 2018 by Keith Johnson

A strand of purple DNA on a black background

The return of HBO’s Westworld has revived the watercooler debate from when the show kicked off in early 2016 – is artificial intelligence (AI) a threat, or an opportunity? While the show takes AI to another level, the question resonates today in a way it didn't two years ago. We’ve moved away from abstract implications of how AI will impact the workplace to practical deployments. Chatbots have become a new standard for website interfaces, natural language processing tools and automation have begun streamlining administrative processes. You might not recognize it without the cowboy hat and six-shooter, but AI is already here.

Workforces, largely, are optimistic about the role AI will continue to play as it evolves and shapes the future of work. In fact, Fuze’s latest research, Workforce Futures: The Role of People in the Future of Work, found that 58 percent of workers believe automation will free them up for more interesting work. A further 66 percent aren’t worried about automation’s direct impact on their jobs, and 40 percent are already reporting seeing the benefits of AI’s role in daily operations. There are still highly publicized disagreements over the AI’s long-term potential, but from the perspective of those interacting with it on an operational scale, the future is clearly seen as a bright one.

What’s particularly interesting, is how AI fits into the larger trend of hyper-personalized workplace experiences. Today’s employees are taking greater ownership of where, when, and how they work. There isn’t a one-size-fits all solution to productivity anymore – workforces want to be empowered to chart their own path forward. In thinking about the workplace of tomorrow, AI has an opportunity to “humanize” and personalize its capabilities through digital assistants. Mapping out behavior to individual preferences, AI can understand which channels an employee prefers, automate tasks like scheduling or setting up conference calls – there’s even potential to understand requests and proactively add to your to-do list. However you work, an AI-powered assistant can support you in a way that feels natural, so work can flow effortlessly.

The concept of AI as a humanity-ending supercomputer is an admittedly fun thought experiment – but one that plays out in science fiction. In reality, the future of work is increasingly influenced by how technology caters to individual strengths, ultimately benefitting the business as a whole. Few tools are suited to this trend like AI, who can learn and grow alongside the employees they support. Employees aren’t static, workplace preferences change. They need to be underpinned by a technology that doesn’t trap them into processes, but empowers them to reach their fullest potential.

Have you seen the benefits of AI in your workplace? Share your stories with us @Fuze.

Keith Johnson
Keith Johnson

As Chief Technology Officer, Keith leads innovation and differentiation strategy for Fuze’s product portfolio. He brings to the organization a tremendous amount of product expertise and thought leadership, with over 20 years of related experience. Keith holds a BSE in Civil Engineering and Operations Research from Princeton University.

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