Real Impact of AI in the Workplace


The Gist

  • Job shifts. Impact of AI in the workplace demands upskilling and adaptive strategies.
  • Artistic evolution. Impact of AI on creativity reshapes originality boundaries.
  • Bias challenge. AI transparency is key to unmasking and addressing inherent biases.

I’ll confess that I’ve been guilty of some of what I’m about to say, but as a proponent of agile and continuous improvement in general, we should all strive to do better. As tempting as it is to talk about artificial intelligence either in awe of its rapid adoption and growth or in fear and contempt about its potential to destroy jobs, livelihoods, as well as our privacy, I believe that there are more real conversations we should be having. Having these conversations means getting to the real heart of the challenges and opportunities that AI in the workplace presents.

I realize that, reading this publication, you’re most likely in a marketing, customer experience, technology, or some other knowledge worker position, so you can look at this from the perspective of what McKinsey has estimated as 30% of your job being able to be automated by 2030. A question, though is would you miss that 30% if it were replaced by other, more rewarding work?

I don’t mean to sound callous here, but I rather want to focus our attention on some tangible things we can do.

In this article, I’m going to explore these topic areas and look at what I think are the real conversations we need to be having.

Let’s take a look at the impact of AI in the workplace, creativity and ethics. 

A cute orange robot sits at a desk in an office typing on laptop, in piece about the impact of AI on jobs, creativity and ethics.
Impact of AI on jobs: AI might be taking jobs, but it’s democratizing types of work in ways never before possible. BPawesome on Adobe Stock Photos

The Impact of AI in the Workplace

There’s no pretending otherwise: AI is going to displace some roles, and completely upend some jobs as we know them. For instance, by 2026, Gartner predicts that 20% of repetitive processes in every industry (yes, every) will be automated by domain-specific generative AI implementation.

The Hype: AI Job Displacement Fears vs. Empowering Creatives

On its surface that’s scary to employees, and perhaps reason for excitement for some chief financial officers (CFOs) out there. But let’s take a step back and look a little more closely at the impact of AI in the workplace here.

AI might be taking jobs, but it’s democratizing types of work in ways never before possible. After all, generative AI is creating the opportunity to create content, imagery, videos, sound and combinations of all of the above — to which customer experience and marketing professionals can relate — to those who aren’t fortunate enough to have the access to years of experience and training on those tools. That type of democratization means that many people with great ideas but who (for many potential reasons) lack the technical skills can now share those ideas with others and the world.

Also, let’s talk about AI job displacement. While I don’t want to ignore the fact that for some who are struggling to make ends meet the threat of losing one’s current employment for even a day is catastrophic, let’s look in a few areas that show a different view of the types of jobs that AI will be taking.

Let’s take the threat of self-driving cars and trucks, for instance. While there are over 3.5 million truck drivers in the US in 2022, there are also consistently nearly 250,000 open positions each year, and this is projected for the next decade. Or, how about the fast food industry, which is also becoming more automated, with nearly 750,000 projected job openings (nearly 20% of the total potential jobs in the industry), or cashiers with over 550,000 projected job openings, and many more?

The Real Issue: Anxiety Over Upskilling

The real issue is anxiety about upskilling and reskilling our workforces while we curb anxiety about the impact of AI in the workplace. There is some genuine evolution that needs to happen here, but in the meantime, employers, educational institutions and others need to get serious about retraining people with skillsets that may go obsolete to utilize new and upcoming technologies.

For the knowledge workers out there, this also means teaching humans to work better with AI, and to prioritize their efforts on the things that humans do best, such as their ability to be creative and strategize, something right in the marketer’s wheelhouse. This will keep people employed, allow AI to continue to innovate and companies to continue to become more efficient. That’s a win-win-win.

It’s also about embracing AI in the workplace and the democratization of new AI-augmented skills, new opportunities and new jobs that are now available to a more diverse workforce than ever before, and not dependent on a privileged few who have had the education and access to the education and training necessary to perform certain types of work.

Finally, it’s about filling in gaps with AI-based solutions where we simply can’t find enough people to do the work or where human insight, creativity, and strategy are simply better used in different roles. If there are permanently-open positions, then it’s not a matter of AI replacing a person’s job, but it’s a matter of AI filling a much needed role. For instance, AI can be a fine content-writing assistant and idea-starter for a marketing or customer experience team.

The issue with the impact of AI in the workplace is not that there isn’t an issue, but that we need to focus on the tangible solutions, most or all of which we can do something about today.


Source link