With new changes in technology, we are entering the second machine age. Sam Burd, president of Dell's client solutions group, reveals the five major changes that will impact the future of work.
Technology evolution is not slowing down. While many organizations are struggling to keep up, significant changes in the workplace are beginning to take place today, and professionals are feeling the impact. Automation, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), you name it, it's happening.
With rapid developments across science, technology engineering and communication, technology has brought upon a new industrial revolution, or "second machine age," that will greatly influence jobs across sectors as well as roles within the home. The rise of advanced tools and skills leaves many unanswered questions for the future; however, it's clear five major changes are bound to impact the future of work.
1. Robots, do you take lunch breaks?
Robots have performed manufacturing activities that humans don't want to do or shouldn't do for decades. From repetitive tasks or jobs that do not require unique cognitive skills or emotional intelligence, replacing human workers with intelligent machines can save a company up to 90 percent in labor costs. Another bonus: the elimination of the lunch break.
According to PwC, more than a third of U.K. jobs could be at "high risk" of automation by the early 2030s, and robots could take over 38 percent of current U.S. jobs in the next 15 years. Beyond the fears of intelligent machine growth as a job killer, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation will enhance the coordination of resources and on-demand learning, which will reset work structures for manufacturing and more.
AI-powered machines have an enhanced ability to make basic decisions, learn from experiences and share that learning with other AI programs. This will enable people to rely on them more heavily while streamlining and improving processes and everyday tasks, facilitating a mutually beneficial relationship. Unlike humans, robots do not provide emotional intelligence; thus, humans will remain as critical partners working alongside advanced algorithms.
2. Gig or fib?
Contract workers, freelancers, ride-share drivers and other alternative work arrangements – otherwise known as the "gig economy" – account for a significant amount of net employment growth in the U.S. over the past decade. While the gig economy becomes more pervasive, the gigs will change.
Take autonomous cars, for example. Well-known ride-sharing companies have invested heavily in the development of driverless cars. While there are early signs of technology leaning this way and the impact may not be evident for some time, you can very well envision a time where autonomous cars will replace "gig" drivers, and humans will have to come to terms with what this means for the future of their various professional endeavors.
However, with a change in the gig economy also comes new opportunity. Around 85 percent of the jobs that today's population will be doing in 2030 haven't been invented yet, according to the Institute for the Future workshop in March 2017.
3. Visualize your work in real time.
Businesses are looking to VR and AR to enhance training, collaboration and much more. On-demand access to AR learning resources will reset expectations and practices around workplace training, and real-time decision-making will be supported by easy access to information.
VR-enabled simulations will immerse people in alternative experiences and places, creating empathy and empowering a blend of physical and virtual worlds. For example, Nike, Meta and Dell are partnering to use VR, AR, voice control, a digital canvas and haptic technology to allow designers to create their vision in more natural ways. OEMs are investing heavily in innovation on the content creation side, consumption of content for gaming, entertainment, and work, service, and support, to be able to take advantage of what VR and AR have to offer.
4. Up in the clouds
Whether it's public, private or hybrid cloud, organizations are relying on it, and it's expected to grow. Chitale Dairy, a dairy farming business in India, recently launched a "cow to cloud" initiative to tag and capture data through AI and the internet of things (IoT) to alert farmers when they need to change the cows' diet, arrange vaccinations, etc.
The cloud is the most agile method for enterprise companies, like Chitale Dairy, to benefit in terms of efficiency and profitability, but also customers in the end. Organizations must train their employees to master the cloud, and, in turn, companies will experience strong benefits when it comes to simplifying their tasks, saving time and focusing efforts on strategic areas of their businesses to maximize revenues.
5. Clear the bias.
Human-machine partnerships will enable people to find and act on information without the interference of emotions or bias, potentially eliminating stereotypes. Machine learning will increase a person's ability to evaluate an employee prospect and identify optimal talent or even a worker's aptitude for gaining new knowledge or learning new skills without personal judgment. Both hiring processes and daily tasks will experience significant improvements as prospects and employees are viewed solely for their skills, and biases are removed from the equation.
Keeping a pulse on these imminent changes today will prepare both employee and employer for what's to come in the next 15 years and beyond. While challenges and hurdles may arise, humans must act now on technology's impact on the future by maximizing these relationships now.