The advancements of artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT), has brokered a new world of work for the global workforce. The 4th industrial revolution (4IR) will catapult the Canadian labour market into an unknown frontier, ushering in economic prosperity while challenging current employee models, jobs, and competencies. Physical, digital, and biological worlds now intersect between industries, converging advancements between technology, genetic engineering, 3D printing, and quantum computing, and the human experience.
Lessons learned from the first three industrial revolutions tell us we need to embrace disruption and navigate these uncertain times. Here are just 5 statistics from the World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs Report 2018
- Projections estimate that 75M jobs will be displaced by AI
- 50% of companies expect automation to reduce full-time employee numbers
- By 2022, 62% of data processing and transmission tasks will be performed by machines, compared to 46% today
- 54% of all employees will require upskilling to remain relevant by 2022
- In Canada, 6M jobs will be decreased based on evolving automation over the next 10 years
Every company in Canada has something to gain by leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence and the 4th industrial revolution, regardless of how big or small. This eBook will unpack this topic into 4 relevant areas:
- A closer look at emerging and redundant jobs
- Current examples of how AI is applied in companies
- Technologies incorporated in the 4th industrial revolution
- Next steps for human resource professionals
Impact to Jobs
It is simpler to grasp how automation will replace typical low-skilled, repetitive jobs – we can all get our head around that. What executives and human resource professionals struggle with is imagining and planning for new positions – that have no precedent. While the research shows a global replacement of workers by machines, there is a silver lining. McKinsey predicts that the 4th industrial revolution will spur the creation of new positions that intersect human and machine experiences, including 130M jobs in health care, 50M in technology, and 20M in energy investments.
Here are a few examples of futuristic jobs coming to Canada by 2028:
- Man-Machine Team Manager: leaders partner with a robot to optimize operations through speed, efficiency, and analytics. This is an emerging role for leaders with a psychology and computer science
- Traffic & Highway Controller: Leverage deep expertise in automated AI platforms to advise municipal management teams on air and road regulation and scheduling.
- Director of Business Behaviour: Pioneer new programs and position AI solutions to digitalize the customer journey, without losing the experiential component. A strong focus on championing purpose while influencing sales, business development, and marketing teams.
- Virtual Store Sherpa: Provide a customer shopping experience through a remote, augmented, platform. In tomorrow’s world, virtual reality will be the mall with virtual, remote assistants.
- Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer: Pioneer new frameworks for the ethical and humane use of technology that impacts employees and citizens. This position is already in place at SalesForce
- Walkers & Talkers: As populations continue to age and become socially isolated, individuals will use a platform (similar to Uber) to schedule walks and talks with senior citizens.
And our favorite:
- Personal Memory Curator: A consultant who pulls together interviews from your family and your media files to develop virtual environments that stimulate familiar memories, events, and times in your life. As we age and our loved ones pass, wouldn’t you want to have these moments captured to re-live them?
While we are seeing positive trends with new job creation, the downside is jobs becoming obsolete for certain pockets in the workplace. The World Economic Forum provides an excellent snap shot of stable, new, and redundant roles, regardless of industry. With such a range of redundant jobs, spanning sales, accounting, lawyers, and administrative professionals, human resource leaders need to proactively groom and redeploy their employee base into new roles.
The 4th industrial revolution has provided forward-thinking companies and HR executives a plethora of options to elevate the employee experience while reducing low touch-point tasks.
Mitigate voluntary turnover and loss of intellectual property
Veriato’s AI software allows companies to monitor employee’s online activities, video record onscreen interests, and analyze computer trends through keystrokes, emails, and internet browsing. This platform provides HR teams to detect employees seeking new opportunities or considering leaving the company, providing a flag to conduct pre-stay interviews and identify high-performers on the way out.
Boosting customer service levels while addressing potential mental health issues
Companies are implementing AI technology to catch and coach front-line service members. For example, consider an employee who takes a customer call and she seems short, anxious, or frustrated with the caller. AI platforms distributes real-time feedback to the employee, suggesting alternative customer scripts or suggesting they take a 5 minute break.
Diversity and Inclusion
Even with good intentioned HR recruiters and hiring managers, unconscious bias still creeps in when creating job descriptions, scanning resumes, and shortlisting candidates. Implementing AI technology not only safeguards against un-fair hiring practices, but also allows companies to continually audit, isolate, and remove biases when discovered. Further, AI allows for custom algorithms, applied in a good way, companies can expand their requirements to target diverse demographics not currently represented in their employee base.
Technologies in the 4IR
While AI and machine learning is often discussed among human resource professionals, here are 10 advancements that HR executives need to consider in the future of work:
- Artificial intelligence – abstract ability, creativity, deductive thinking and the capability to digital learning using binary logics
- Machine learning – artificial intelligence-enabled machines to function without being programmed to perform
- Robotics – machines began substituting and replicating human actions
- Blockchain – technology resisted data modification
- Nanotechnology – manipulation of molecular, supramolecular and atomic matter
- Quantum Computing – computing using quantum-mechanical phenomena like entanglement and superposition
- Biotechnology – technological applications that involve making products using living systems and organisms
- Internet of things (IoT) – networking of physical devices, home appliances vehicles, and items that are embedded with software, electronics, sensors, connectivity, and actuators allowing the collection to and exchanging of data
- Automation systems – resets of automated software and hardware that allows machines to perform without interference from a human being
- 3D-printing – creating 3-dimensional objects using a computer
The Challenge of Artificial Intelligence on HR
In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, the old ways of doing things are gradually being taken over by new styles. Due to AI transformation, human resource practice is being faced with unique challenges.
- There is a scarcity of tech-savvy individuals in the profession. Many human resource practitioners do not know how to use storyboarding, agile methodology, and sprints in managing their daily HR tasks.
- There have been difficulties in crafting a strategy whereby human resource practitioners can use technology as a differentiator and also enhance differentiation. For example, the Chatbots software could be used as a differentiator, and AI could be utilized in mining queries, answers, behaviours, and patterns that are exhibited by the employees in the process of interacting with the software.
Preparing for the future is everyone’s job – especially human resource teams. Our employees are looking at us to develop talent management strategies, train on new technologies, and deploy automation in a cautious, calculated manner.