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In any roundup of 2022, Elon Musk’s Optimus robot waving its mechanical arms in the air is likely to be featured prominently. Musk boldly claimed that we could see a “fundamental transformation of civilization” with such advances in robotics. While his vision may take years to unfold, we are now at a juncture where we will see rapid deployment and advancement of artificial intelligence. The future is waving hello, and 2023 promises to be exciting in AI.
A time of flux and generational change in Artificial Intelligence
Despite record numbers of low unemployment, companies continue to find it challenging to find employees — especially people with the right skill sets. Necessity is the mother of invention, and we are in a time of AI necessity. The current labor shortage, inflationary and recessionary pressures combined with rising interest rates will force companies to get creative with labor procurement.
AI-driven automation will drive much of this change, and the winners in specific niches may be determined by how well and quickly the companies can leverage automation. This is particularly true for sectors such as accounting, banking, lending, data processing, tech development or customer service, where the adoption of automation is already underway.
Quicker adoption rates are likely as companies respond to market pressures. We should expect those companies aiming for 2024-2025 AI adoption completion dates to move them up.
While it is not possible to anticipate all the fallouts, it is more than likely that companies will shed some employees, especially in roles where automation proves to be a better fit than expected. On the other hand, companies will also be able to tackle growth at a faster yet more sustainable pace, especially if they’re in an industry that is growing. Performance-focused companies will see better results and higher profitability if they move fast and remain strategic about AI adoption.
Related: 3 Ways to Drive Business Growth Using AI
1. A multitude of necessity-driven AI innovations will birth new unicorns
Think about it like this: We can now fearlessly unlock Pandora’s box of societal and industrial problems and challenges because we also have the technological key to resolve them. In the future, we will see a continuous and rapid emergence of new ideas to solve persistent challenges. People may have thought of these solutions for a long time, but it was out of our technical capacity to realize them. With automation, those ideas can now become a reality.
We are also going through an economic shift and fundamental changes in how we approach work. All of a sudden, the minds of customers are wide open, looking for solutions. This fortunate alignment of causalities allows for once-in-a-generation leaps in idea formulation, especially when supported by AI’s impending heavily accelerated adoption.
For example, a metaverse company in China is currently experimenting with an AI-powered virtual humanoid robot as its CEO. As bizarre as it may sound, we will see more and more bold innovations happening as AI adoption picks up pace. The next blessing of unicorns will emerge out of solving some of our most persistent problems. Not only will automation help companies stay on budget and meet their growth targets despite tightening market conditions, it will also impact every facet of life as we know it.
Related: The Complete Guide to AI for Businesses and How It’s Making a Difference
2. AI will be the spice in the new flavor of a globalized workforce
In the wake of the Great Resignation and quiet quitting, it’s abundantly clear that our relationship with the workplace has shifted fundamentally. Flexibility and work-life balance are critical to retaining talent. AI-driven automation will play a key role in enabling companies to offer enhanced flexibility to employees while allowing them to work from anywhere.
Our organization has developed an AI-driven work collaboration platform called Teletype that enables us to supplement our full-time workforce with part-time workers from anywhere in the world. More and more AI-driven work and collaboration platforms like Upwork and Taskrabbit will come to the fore as they bridge traditional work with a globalized workforce of the future that can work from anywhere.
Related: Here’s What AI Will Never Be Able to Do
3. AI and hyper-scale automation will hit us in waves
We are already witnessing heavy adoption of automation for repetitive tasks done by software robots. We might still be some time away from scaling hardware robots or consistent automation that can enable organizations to manage all aspects of production from hyper-scale data centers. But we will likely see an upsurge in automation that expands or enhances the ability for people to work. We could even see an uptick in robotic personal assistants to take care of repetitive tasks that can largely be automated so people can work smarter and faster. This will be particularly true in back office environments where repetitive tasks consume many costly human hours.
As we get increasingly sophisticated with AI tools, the percentage and nature of automation in all work processes will scale significantly. Few aspects of life will remain untouched by AI, and the changes will soon hit us in waves. The tricky question for organizations will be deciding which wave to ride on.