When you see a tidal wave coming from far enough away, you can prepare for it. But, if you stand and fight it, you will lose. The American workforce has seen the tidal wave of artificial intelligence coming for decades, yet we still have preparation to do. Those who do not, their professions will not survive. Those who embrace the evolution will strive and own the future.
An A.I. apocalypse won’t happen in 2019. But A.I. will become increasingly powerful, and make its way from the production floor to the front office and replace jobs.
If You Don’t Embrace the Change
Existing companies may cease to exist without A.I., and existing countries will no longer have a competitive role without A.I. skills and capabilities. With the World Economic Forum predicting that A.I. and automation will create 54 million new net jobs by 2022, companies must become a part of the change. When digging deeper in that 54 million new net number, you see that 75 million current jobs are being displaced. What does this mean for business in the next few years? If you do not proactively shift your workforce focus and repurpose your employees, your business will be displaced as well.
There isn’t reason to fear if you are a forethinking and proactive company.
If You Do Embrace the Future
There is still time to embrace the coming change. Embracing this change means increased productivity, growth and competitiveness for companies and industries as a whole. There are several aspects of most businesses that will dramatically improve.
First on the list is customer service. Customer service will increasingly occur in real time. There will be a greater rate of discovery of the root of more complicated problems. The answers will come faster, the process will be far more efficient and customers will be pleased in a much quicker and satisfying manner. Thus, your percentage of repeat customers will increase, saving you from spending on customer acquisition and increasing your incoming revenue from current customers. Relevant algorithms will be at the heart of this and will only become smarter as time passes.
Another field that will be greatly impacted is health care and predictive medicine. One of the main reasons behind this is the growing demand for health care in the United States and the entire world. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that 890 million new jobs will be created by 2030, a large percentage in the health care field. With A.I. and automation giving physicians better predictive technology, a higher percentage of their work can be shifted to direct patient care and interaction with humans instead of machines. Those changes in turn would create better revenue, better growth, and more importantly, tremendous social impact by increasing the health of the entire population.
The human mind cannot and will not ever be able to be replaced. A.I. will not be able to replace human judgment. This is where humanity needs to put its focus. Most importantly, industry leaders need to focus on retraining and lifetime education, as well as setting up new skills education institutes within their companies and industries.
What Our Future Will Look Like
The future is a train that waits for no one, and A.I. is the engine of the 21st century. The WEF and the PwC concur that A.I. will produce up to $15 trillion towards the GDP of the U.S. alone by 2030. A.I. is nowhere near the peak of its powers. The coming decades will produce more powerful A.I. deployments. We will progress from simple chatbots to more complex and capable cognitive human-like agents. Chatbots can be helpful but are usually quite limited in their capabilities. These A.I. assistants will have autonomous interactions with external customers or internal users, and eventually take more and more actions by themselves.
There will be an increasing amount of A.I. deployments and adoption. In 2019, more companies will adopt some form of conversational A.I. Those companies that have already dipped a toe in the water will expand A.I. into multiple departments. In 2019, we will see the augmented workforce continue to expand its footprint. From customer service and support to marketing, sales, customer success, and even to critical internal departments like human resources and finance. We are still in the infancy of A.I. and discovering its capabilities.
A.I. will move to grow revenue. As of 2018, only 47 percent of digitally mature organizations say they have a defined A.I. strategy. As more and more companies are founded and mature, they will learn to leverage A.I. In 2019, more companies will use A.I. to grow revenue by implementing A.I. in marketing and sales teams. Netflix used this exact same method back in 2017. They saved $1 billion by adding A.I. to create personalized recommendations for their subscribers. More and more companies will begin to install these types of predictive analytics to please their customers. A.I. has historically been implemented to reduce costs; now, more and more, it will be used to grow revenue.
In the short and medium term, adoption of A.I. will create more jobs. In the longer term, 20 to 40 years, we expect some job functions to be replaced by A.I., while new functions are created. This is the natural evolution of jobs. We no longer have telephone switchboard operators or people who pump gas at gas stations, yet our unemployment is near record lows. Some amount of job displacement is inevitable due to pressures of automation and self-service, but those people in those roles can be repurposed by forward thinking leaders. Those who do not look to A.I. and the future and see the opportunities, but instead focus on the obstacles, will be left in the dustbin of history.
Mark Minevich is the principle founder of Going Global Ventures—read his full bio here.