People-machine relationship not about survival, says Deloitte


January 3, 2018 | 1:17 pm
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Many times when relationship between humans and machines are described, it is about one ‘specie’ – mostly humans – losing out to the other one (machines). But the latest Tech Trend 2018 report by Deloitte, says neither machine nor human need lose their relevance.

As both evolve in their interaction and human adoption of cognitive technologies and artificial intelligence become more widespread, Deloitte believes that the intelligent automation solutions “may be able to augment workers’ performance by automating certain parts of a task, thus freeing individuals to focus on more ‘human‘ aspects that require empathic problem-solving abilities, social skills, and emotional intelligence.”

The company says that the idea that technology can duplicate many uniquely human workplace strengths such as empathy, persuasion, and verbal comprehension is not true. Hence it is a misconception to view automation in this way.

In a 2017 report, respondents which include more than 10,000 HR and business leaders predicted that the future of work is one in which more than 30 percent of high-paying jobs will be social and essentially human in nature. In essence, while machine will be around to help speed the process of operation, actual people will be paid lots of money to carry out tasks that robots cannot execute.

Deloitte says that future is happening in the next 18 to 24 months.

“Expect more companies to embrace the emerging no-collar workforce trend by redesigning jobs and reimagining how work gets done in a hybrid human-and-machine environment,” the report notes.

There will be challenge for companies at this level, no doubt. For instance, there could be challenges in how to categorise and describe work in a way that connects it to artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), and cognitive.

“To categorise technologies as components of work, we must first understand what these technologies are, how they work, and how they can potentially add value as part of an augmented workforce” the reports states. Companies can speed this process by developing innovative ways of learning and institutionalising training opportunities to help workers contribute substantively, creatively and consistently to transformational efforts no matter what roles they have.

“In the context of workforce transformation, workers who possess an in-depth understanding of automation and the specific technologies that enable it will likely be able to view tech-driven transformation in its proper strategic context. They may also be able to adjust more readily to redesigned jobs and augmented processes,” the report states.

Companies may also need to start seeing machines as workforce talents. This new perception will lead to forward-looking questions such as, “What work do we need to do that is hard to staff and hard to get done?” What skills do we need to accomplish the work?” “How do we evaluate if a prospective hire’s skills match the skills we are looking for?” etc.

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January 3, 2018 | 1:17 pm
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