The Role of AI, Automation, Cloud Computing, and Big Data Metrics
The following blog is by Michael Deane, who administers Qeedle, a leading small business blog.
We embrace new tech at break-neck speeds. Technology that could only be seen in movies such as Back to the Future is now a part of everyday life.
Organizations are doing their best to modernize their workplaces as younger, tech-savvy talent enters the workplace. Technology isn’t just changing the way we live; it is changing the way we work.
Is AI Taking Over?
Until recently, only enterprise-level organizations could afford to use Artificial Intelligence. But now, even small and medium-sized businesses are using AI to process and interpret data, rapidly sift through resumes, and even improve customer service.
Robots haven’t replaced the workforce, but they have become our coworkers. More and more companies are employing chatbots to help their customers and their employees.
Chatbots are perhaps the most ubiquitous example of how AI is affecting the work environment. They have rapidly evolved thanks to improvements in natural language processing (NLP).
It helps them better understand human inquiries and offer better, more human-like responses. However, in high-stress, emergency situations, customers still prefer to speak to other people.
Chatbots, and other AI tools, open up the employees’ schedules and allow them to serve customers better. They can detect and reroute calls or inquiries that are related to more urgent matters to customer service agents.
Customer service reps no longer have to answer mundane FAQ questions, that’s the chatbots’ job now. This allows agents to focus on inquiries where they can win customers over or improve customer retention—tasks where the personal touch is key.
Recruitment and Onboarding
HR departments have started using AI to recruit candidates. For many companies, AI has shown to be of great help in finding the right person for the job. For instance, Pymetrics is a company that provides AI tools for entry-level hiring.
The system is great as it entirely avoids biases based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Instead, it solely focuses on the emotional and cognitive features of a candidate.
If it finds that the candidate isn’t a good fit for the position they applied for, it might recognize a more suitable role for them. It’s beneficial to both the employer and the candidate.
The CEO of Montage, one of Pymetrics’ competitors, stated that 100 of Fortune 500 companies have used their AI-enabled recruiting assistant.
Many companies that make thousands of hires each year have found AI-prescreening to be the best way to manage applications.
Moreover, AI chatbots are the current tool of choice when it comes to onboarding. Businesses use them to help new hires settle into their new roles.
Such chatbots make things easier for new recruits by using plain, human language to answer their questions. They can offer information on payroll issues, how to deal with HR, or where the employee can catch a shuttle bus to work.
There is a potential dark side to the introduction of state-of-the-art tech to the workplace. A great number of enterprise-level companies use “non-traditional” techniques to monitor their employees.
They use these tools to analyze computer usage, conversations, emails, and employee movements around the office. The findings help them determine employee engagement levels.
Some companies even monitor the sleeping patterns and heart rates of their employees to see how these affect performance. Blizzard has shared its plan to start incentivizing health tracking programs.
They plan to use the anonymized data to see how the health of the workforce as a whole can be improved.
While most companies that employ such surveillance techniques claim they are doing it for the good of their employees, it’s easy to see why this may not sit well with everyone.
According to Grand Review Research, the workforce analytics market will be worth $1.87 billion by 2025.
The Decentralized Workplace
Thanks to smart devices, high-speed internet, cloud computing, and apps such as Slack, office cubicles are becoming a thing of the past. The modern workforce is distributed all over the globe. Labor is no longer centralized.
For example, Halo Top, a famous ice cream company, grew from $230,000 to $100 million in just a five-years’ time. They don’t even have an office. In 2018, they had 75 full-time remote workers.
Technological advances have also given rise to freelancing. About 36% of the U.S. workforce is in the “gig economy”.
Due to platforms like Freelancer.com, Upwork, Uber, Etsy, and Amazon Mechanical Turk, finding flexible employment is easier than ever.
To stay competitive and attract new talent, more and more companies are touting flexibility as the main perk of working for them.
The 9 to 5 workday is no longer the norm in many industries. The open office trend that started out in Silicon Valley has spread all over the globe.
Businesses need to consider much more than their bottom line when employing emerging technologies.
Whether it’s propelled by AI, automation, cloud computing, or big data metrics, the employee needs to be at the center of the tech revolution.
The most successful companies us ‘the future’ technology as an aid for their workers, not a replacement for them.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael's work at Qeedle.
Blog posted on Workplace Ethics Advice on February 27, 2020 by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage. Steve’s website is: https://www.stevenmintzethics.com/.