The Augmented Workforce or Augmented Employee? It’s coming. While there’s a lot of hype and discussion about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robots taking over White Collar work. Yes, to some degree jobs will be replaced. Those jobs are ones that are highly formulaic and process oriented though. Ones that don’t require a lot of judgement or thinking. And the reality is, there aren’t a lot of jobs like that overall.
So what do I mean by the Augmented Workforce? it covers a few areas and will be a key aspect of ongoing Digital Transformation projects for business and government, large and small.
This is where AI comes into play. A company may buy (more likely subscribe) to a customized AI Engine for their industry. Imagine the insurance industry, an AI Claims Engine may do the initial assessment of a claim, checking all the paperwork and such is in place. It will then hand it over to the claims person who will be able to apply the necessary human judgements for the final processing. This will help insurance companies process claims faster. A lawyer or paralegal may us an AI Law Engine to help with research, saving significant time crawling through LexisNexis or similar, thus leaving the lawyer more time to think about an argument to defend their client.
Aside from the obvious side of manufacturing, we may see robots supporting vehicle mechanics, or perhaps handling deliveries and basic stocking in smaller distribution centres or big box retail stores. In large offices they may handle the mail or similar tasks. Their role is to take on the heavy lifting and augment employees in those roles today.
Augmented Reality Tools
Think Google Glass or similar tools and smartphones. This will largely be in the area of more manual jobs. A furnace repair technician may wear glasses that overlay schematics or access an AI Engine to help offer solutions to problems. Aircraft mechanics, vehicle mechanics, building engineers. There are tons of opportunities in this application of Augmented Reality.
All of this will present a whole slew of opportunities for startups and larger tech companies. The consideration for companies employing augmented worker technologies will be the collection of employee data and understanding risks to human rights litigations and of course, unions and how they’ll react. But this is pretty much inevitable. And incredibly exciting for all kinds of new businesses, opportunities for industry and employees.