AI success means reimagining work - Technical.ly DC

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Mar. 27, 2018 8:09 am

AI success means reimagining work

In a guest post, Accenture D.C. Managing Director Katherine LaVelle details takeaways from the local results of a survey on introducing artificial intelligence.

Job-seekers work the floor at D.C.'s first NET/WORK.

(Photo by Brian James Kirk)

This is a guest post by Katherine LaVelle, managing director in Accenture’s Washington, D.C. office, and leader of Accenture’s North American Talent & Organization practice.

Intelligent technology needs ingenious humans and a workforce ready to unlock and embrace the power of artificial intelligence.

There’s a huge opportunity here for business leaders to capitalize on employee interest in AI to build a new and more profitable future workforce. DMV businesses risk missing major growth opportunities unless CEOs take immediate steps to pivot their workforces and equip their people to work with intelligent technologies.

Accenture recently polled 500 DMV residents to see if they were ready to be part of a reimagined workforce. The majority told us their job is not preparing them adequately to work alongside AI: more than half of men surveyed (56 percent) and two-thirds of women (65 percent) are not prepared for human-machine collaboration.

District-area workers are impatient to collaborate with AI, with 63 percent reporting that they believe intelligent technologies will create opportunities for their work over the next three years.

More than half (51 percent) of D.C. workers say the need to work with intelligent technologies has gained more importance for their current role over the last two years and 40 percent expect tasks in their current job to be automated over the next three years.

The challenge facing every business today is to look at current roles and work processes, and reimagine what they could be with AI. This reimagining isn’t about simply automating processes; it’s about elevating workers and truly transforming their roles so they can play a more active role in creating new customer value.

But AI will do more than enrich existing human roles. It will also create entirely new ones. Human employees, for example, will develop intelligent algorithms and ensure that as they grow they stay true to their original goals without crossing ethical boundaries. It’s perhaps for this reason that 63 percent of business executives in a recent global Accenture survey expect that AI will create net job gains in their organization within the next three years.

The process of reimagining work can’t start soon enough. By putting in place a systematic approach to effective human-machine collaboration, businesses with can unlock the value of AI rapidly and more completely.

The key is to move the focus from jobs to the nature of the work itself, before preparing workers with the necessary skills. This reconfiguration of work will require organizations to identify the new kinds of tasks that must be performed – assessing tasks and skills rather than jobs. From there, businesses will be best placed to create new roles and map the requirements of these roles against existing skills, filling any gaps through recruitment and training.

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