Bots as Your Boss? AI and Robotics Poised to Change the Workplace

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Bots as Your Boss? AI and Robotics Poised to Change the Workplace

With most organizations considering the adoption of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine technologies could transform the essence of how work gets done, according to a recent survey from Pegasystems. The resulting report, titled “The Future of Work,” indicates that these technologies will enhance customer experiences while improving quality control. They’ll also “interview” job candidates and review their resumes. And, because they’ll empower employees to make more informed decisions, they’ll reduce the presence of middle managers. (Survey respondents stop short, however, of embracing robots as their “boss.”) Nearly 850 global senior executives took part in the research. This slide show presents highlights from the survey, with charts provided courtesy of Pegasystems.

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Robots and Humans Together Will Shape Future Workplace

Nearly seven of 10 senior executives expect the term “workforce” to eventually encapsulate both human employees and intelligent machines. Three-quarters of businesses plan to consider the use of robotic process automation (RPA) over the next 12 months, according to additional research from Deloitte included in the report.

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Organizations View AI as Multipurpose Business Driver

Within five years, it will become a standard practice for AI to drive the scheduling and coordination of work, according to 79 percent of survey respondents. Just over three-quarters said AI will play a lead role in quality control. Other top AI-deployment drivers will include task allocation and the matching of customer service agents with customers.

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Job Candidate Screening Will Get Increasingly Automated

About two-thirds of senior executives expect that, within 10 years, organizations will use AI to conduct interviews with job candidates and come up with a “shortlist.” More than seven of 10 predict that, within five years, companies will use AI to evaluate resumes and curriculum vitaes (CVs).

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Machines to Assess Employee Performance

More than seven of 10 survey respondents said it will be common within 10 years to use AI to evaluate employees’ performance. And 72 percent anticipate AI will be deployed to establish employee rewards.

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Widely Seen Performance Ratings to Proliferate

Data-driven, online profiles of employees that can readily be transferred to third parties in the interest of hiring top-performing “gig” workers will emerge as a norm, according to 84 percent of survey respondents. Meanwhile, 86 percent believe customers will apply TripAdvisor-like ratings to frontline staff within 10 years.

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Robots Accepted as “Work Colleagues”—Not as Bosses

Pegasystems reports that 88 percent of survey respondents are comfortable with the prospect of working alongside intelligent machines. But four of five said they would not be comfortable having an intelligent machine manage them.

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RPA to Boost Efficiencies, Customer Experiences

About four of five senior executives believe RPA will deliver significant efficiency improvements by relieving staffers of repetitive manual processes such as data inputting. Three of five expect RPA to lead to enhanced customer experiences.

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AI Emerges as Effective Solution Finder

Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents believe AI will allow workers to perform more varied roles by finding solutions to problems that previously would have been referred up the chain of command. Because of this and other benefits, RPA can deliver ROI between 30 to 200 percent in its first year, according to research from the London School of Economics included in the report.

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Intelligent Systems Will Empower Lower-Level Decision-Making

Seventy-two percent of senior executives believe that the increasing use of AI/robotics will dramatically reduce the number of middle managers in organizations over the next decade, according to the report. This is because 76 percent believe AI will enable workers to make more informed decisions at a junior level, flattening hierarchies.

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Machines Benefit Meritocracy at Expense of Politics

Two-thirds of survey respondents believe the widespread use of AI will give rise to a more transparent meritocracy in the workplace. In fact, 35 percent said it could reduce the presence of office politics.

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Gartner Finds IT Industry on Track for Strong Growth in 2018, 2019

Gartner reported that worldwide IT industry spending hit $3.5 trillion in 2017 and it predicted that spending will remain strong through 2019, barring the onset of a global recession.
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