This blog is authored by Rekha M Menon, Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India.
Today, we stand at a crucial juncture where disruptive technologies are transforming how we work and live, AI presents a game-changing opportunity. The technology has the power to boost economies – Accenture research shows AI could boost average profitability rates by 38% and lead to an economic increase of US$14 TN by 2035, globally. In India, it could add nearly one trillion to the economy in just that year. It has the potential to drive growth in at least three important ways: by optimizing processes with intelligent automation systems, by augmenting human labor and physical capital, and by propelling new innovations.
It’s time for us to come together as business leaders, policy makers, industry bodies and agencies to unlock this massive opportunity. We are really poised to prepare for, and work toward a future with AI as the new factor of production. But to seize the tremendous potential of AI, we need to “reimagine” people’s roles to collaborate more with machines – to be recast as the workforce of the future.
As AI-enabled intelligent machines begin to humanize work, how does work change for us as humans?
- Intelligent machines become our colleagues: There will be a shift in attitude. While judgment is a distinctly human skill, intelligent machines can accelerate and support human learning and decision-making—assisting in data-driven simulations, scenarios and search and discovery activities.
- Humans start focusing on judgment work: Some decisions require insight beyond what data can tell us. This is the sweet spot for human judgment—the application of experience and expertise to make critical business decisions and practices.
- Return of the manager to do the “real” work—passing off routine tasks to AI: As the conventional role of the manager—coordinating and controlling other people’s work—wanes or even vanishes, managers will turn their attention to “real” work. They will become leading practitioners and not just administrators. They will also start focusing on creativity and innovation to solve complex business problems.
- Digital collaboration across boundaries: The next-generation worker will need high social intelligence to collaborate effectively in teams and networks using digital technologies —teasing out and bringing together diverse perspectives, insights and experiences to support collective judgment, complex problem solving and ideation.
- Humans start working like designers: While a worker’s creative abilities are vital, perhaps even more important is the ability to harness others’ creativity. Worker-designers master the craft of bringing together diverse ideas into integrated, workable and appealing solutions. Intelligent machines will enable and accelerate design like work processes, such as supporting problem representation, data and solution visualization, in addition to digital and physical prototyping.
AI can amplify workers by eliminating repetitive tasks and liberating the workforce from manual and back-end processes. The possibilities? Limitless. With humans focusing on creative, innovative and decision-making pursuits—it’s possible that we create newer jobs. AI is really all-pervasive and can change the game for our future. The real question though, should be around readiness. Are we ready to be at the driver’s seat, edging AI to amplify us, and use it to our benefit?