The skills leaders need in the age of artificial intelligence and robots

2 May 2019

This article was originally published on Momentum.

From introducing robots in the workplace, to persuading humans to work alongside them, leaders need to prepare for the brave new world ahead.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution already underway, new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are transforming production and sweeping aside traditional models of employment. But as we gain a clearer understanding of their pitfalls and potential, the debate is shifting away from concerns about robots replacing humans to considering how businesses can harness their benefits.

In fact, it appears the initial fears about widespread unemployment may have been unfounded. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), technology may create more jobs than it replaces in the long run. Its survey of companies representing over 15 million workers found that by 2022, they expected to have lost 0.98 million jobs as a result of new technology, but created 1.74 million new ones.

The WEF's Future of Jobs report suggests that businesses need to change their view of technology ‘from automation to augmentation’ – seeing it not as a way to reduce labour costs, but rather as a tool to augment the work of humans by freeing staff up from repetitive tasks and supporting them in more decision-making roles.

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