Everyone from politicians to top technology executives has an opinion about how AI will shape the future of our workforce. Will robots take our jobs? Will they inhibit human connection? What will the workplace of the future look like?

How AI Will Transform Your Workplace

The truth is that even though we may not know every potential effect of artificial intelligence in the workplace, AI will change the way we do business. Already we’re seeing applications that extend into every part of the organization, such as:

  • Customer Experience—AI helps us predict customer needs, make suggestions, and show customers the items most relevant to them, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.
  • Employee Productivity—Automated processes can take over repetitive tasks and improve the information available to make decisions. That means employees can focus their attention on the most impactful tasks, boosting both productivity and effectiveness.
  • Predictive Analytics—AI can use predictive analytics to identify potential problems, anticipate customer and employee behavior, and predict maintenance needs before a piece of equipment goes down.
  • Risk Mitigation—AI helps us process and analyze large amounts of data. That information can then be used to identify and mitigate risk across the organization, from security and safety to finances and operations.

The good news is that despite fears about AI putting human jobs at risk, analyst Josh Bersin believes that AI will work alongside humans rather than replacing them. Bersin envisions a future where AI assumes task-oriented job functions, while also creating new jobs for humans. These new roles require traits that robots can’t emulate such as communication, problem-solving, and people skills.

Still, there will be a learning curve. People who currently hold task-oriented jobs will need retraining to assume different kinds of roles in the workplace.

What The AI Revolution Means for Business Leaders

Business leaders will need to adapt as well. The most successful companies of the future will be those that integrate AI throughout the organization. That means we need leaders who understand the potential impact of AI and can adapt accordingly. To be successful, leaders will need the ability to envision a culture where humans and technology complement each other.

What traits should business leaders bring to the table in the AI age?

  • Adaptability—New AI applications emerge frequently, and leaders will need to pivot strategically to capitalize on those capabilities. Being open to new ideas and being willing to change an opinion or commit to a new course of action will strengthen leadership potential.
  • Vision—Leaders need the unique ability to see not only what a tool can do, but also where it can best be applied for the greatest impact. The AI culture is characterized by disruption, and that can create disorganization and confusion among team members. Leaders need to be prepared with clear strategies and the ability to communicate those strategies effectively.
  • Collaboration—Successful businesses will require close collaboration between business strategists and technical teams. To effectively leverage AI, leaders should lean heavily on experts who can provide context and plausible implementations for various AI opportunities.
  • Strategic Planning—Only 15% of global executives believe they are ready to manage a workforce that includes people working alongside AI and robots. As AI becomes more firmly entrenched in the workplace, leaders will need to reevaluate current strategies and find new ways to achieve the best results.
  • Responsible AI—We’ve all seen horror stories about AI gone rogue. While it’s not likely that we’ll face a reincarnation of HAL anytime soon, responsible AI is still an important concern. Leaders should be able to demonstrate that algorithms are unbiased, that outcomes are accurate, and that solutions are used ethically.

What’s the most important characteristic that will define the leaders of tomorrow? It’s humility. Leaders need to know what they don’t know. They need to be willing to seek input from others-even those with less senior positions and fewer years of experience. Without that willingness to learn, the sheer volume of information may shield leaders and the companies they serve from the best new ideas AI has to offer.

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