Many of us are caught in the debate:
Will artificial intelligence threaten jobs for humans? Is it already here, the war of Machine vs Humans?
The answer is yes and no.
Following steam, water power, electricity & assembly line and computerization, we are now sitting at the helm of the Digital Revolution led by AI, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, Software Bots and more that’s coming. This is the fourth revolution or Industry 4.0.
The era of ‘connected everything’ – smart houses, smart organizations, smart industrial units with augmented machines and web connectivity, connected to a central unit that can visualize the entire work-run and make decisions on their own. Where machines can think and act. So does that mean there will be an end for the need of human intelligence?
I recently learnt, we can soon see robot judges in European courts, helping out with court cases. Not sure how true is that. But one thing is sure that the future is already here.
The extent to which technology is going to fuse into human lives, will blur the lines between virtual and real worlds. Another product ad I really found fascinating is an ingenious kid’s bassinet/cradle which monitors a baby’s needs, calming her when she cries. White music and womb sounds play while a familiar motion soothes the baby back to sleep. Now isn’t that amazing? But is it going to abduct the need for the parent to watch over the baby? I don’t think so, as human intervention to piece all of this together will always have a place. So why the scare of displacement of the workforce by bots and automation?
Here’s a simple case relating the scenario to the BPO industry and customer service experts. Our job is to unite incongruent platforms, data, and channels by using intelligent technologies and insights, driving personalization for brands; managing customer interactions through omnichannel approach, harmoniously integrating a mix of automation (bots) and human touch. So, while technology and software robotics is going to score over humans in some way, it’s bound to create newer jobs requiring soft or social skills which are harder to match by machines.
This has happened before during other industrial revolutions too be it agriculture, oil sector or the recent one which is automobile. These have gone through major shifts owing to technology and automation, transforming the workforce mix but not killing it.
As we go along, with rising complexities, success will be measured by how well technology and human intervention coexists – a ‘hybrid intelligence’ which can co-create a healthier and safer planet.
Are we going to face a Talent Shortage for the new skill set?
The other question is about the war on talent for the new jobs and skill-sets that will come forth. However, it seems a bit ignorant. Especially to those in India, talent shortage will seem like an obscure term as it is available in abundance, however, the gap between skills and employability is huge too. Therefore, the need to invest in the right skills is greater than ever.
A research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center have concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills, and only 15% comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills). While employers spend only 28% on developing the soft skills.
Expanding the ecosystem: Becoming #GenderSmart
Talent shortage tomorrow will also mean under-preparedness today and great dilemmas tomorrow. Creating an inclusive and diverse workforce is the only answer to meet the needs. Many recent reports show that women particularly are underrepresented in today’s workforce which is shrinking the talent pool.
Almost 18 months ago, Teleperformance India kicked-of the journey towards achieving gender parity at workplace starting out with balancing the ratios first. Our #GenderSmart campaign was launched with a view to meet the growth objectives of the organization, also in-line with the talent acquisition requirements of widening our resource pool and supporting this growth on demand.
While we improved the gender ratios, our aim is to build a strong focus on recruiting people with high emotional intelligence and superb human skills as technical skills are easily teachable. Also, in addition to creating the balance, we understand that maintaining it is the key, as women employees leave at a staggering rate due to personal reasons. We tackled this by magnifying their voices and drawing insights from them as we understand one solutions doesn’t fit all.
Most of us are running against time and it will not be far when we get hindered by the complexity of our own technology, if we don’t break the chains of protocol and focus on the new. After all, every solution lies within the problem.
Do share your views about this article and how technology will affect us in the coming times.
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Contributors: Neha Sethi @nehacsethi | Parul Singh