Technological advances, a threat to the workforce?
Technological advances are rapidly making it possible to automate much of the work currently carried out by humans. This has brought with it much concern for job loss in industries were this can be easily achieved such as the manufacturing sector which has shown a high potential for automation. However technology has the potential to transform many sectors and not just the manufacturing sector. Sectors such as healthcare and finance, which involve a substantial share of knowledge work can benefit from technology.
Technology is believed to be able to replace the worker and that has been proven in many instances where manufacturers look for cost saving potentials with high returns. And we cannot ignore that to a certain extent we will have to deal with the reality of this threat in certain industries. Fortunately, there are still some designing AI with the specific goal of not replacing the worker, but to better industries.
AI has shown huge potentials to improve certain jobs when it is made accessible to the people who work in that field. It is helping to increase the scale and quality of certain industries. For instance, AI and robotics can be used in the health care sector to diagnose certain diseases and tumors before they become a big issue, saving lives easily. Human capabilities can only take us to a certain level but with the use of technologies, there is no telling how far we can advance these sectors.
The workers in these industries should be upskilled and empowered enough to provide value in their work regardless of the circumstances. Other technologies bring with them opportunities for learning things such as how to use Virtual Reality and AI analytics to be able to better perform the job. A few providers design technologies that not only revolutionizes how certain sectors do things but create new employment opportunities.
These technologies assist human beings in their daily tasks. They are there to maximize efficiencies without destroying the dignity of people and their work moral. It is also naïve for companies to believe that technology can completely replace the worker. Regardless of whether it is blue or white-collar jobs, computers are helping to increase the scale and quality of the type of work they do, than to replace.
Some great examples where employees have designed or used technology to assist in their work already exist. For instance an impaired Microsoft employee used AI to create smart glasses that could interpret emotions in real time. These glasses can assist technicians with looking at errors in the floor plant without being physically there or access manuals for machines quickly and easily virtually. Microsoft is also doing some language translation products such as Skype, which is helpful for certain industries too.
Even though AI can improve the work of employees, there is still a human interference that needs to happen. The hardest activities to automate with currently available technologies are those that involve managing and developing people or that apply expertise to decision making, planning, or creative work.
New techniques, for example, are enabling safer and more enhanced physical collaboration between robots and humans in what are now considered unpredictable environments. These developments could enable the automation of more activities in sectors such as construction.
Each day a new technological solution is released into the market that automates the entire business processes, as well as the culture of organizations. The public and workers need to learn to view automation as a reliable productivity lever and not a threat.
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