AI at work: Your next co-worker could be an algorithm

It’s inevitable that artificial intelligence will replace some jobs. But emerging AI systems not only support their human colleagues but actively collaborate with them, tapping the unique strengths of both.

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From the heavy machinery of the industrial revolution to the computer age of digitization and, recently, the rapid advances in artificial intelligence, technological advances often raise the spectre of job losses. But experts believe that as well as replacing jobs, AI systems are set to augment human efforts, improving efficiency and reducing the burden of more arduous tasks that can be offloaded to intelligent algorithms.

This means humans cooperating and interacting directly with AI. “For those of us who do not lose our jobs to automation, we are going to be working with increasingly intelligent software, side-by-side,” said J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at research firm Forrester. “It is going to become applicable to almost every kind of business process you can imagine.”

Combining the power of cloud computing and advances around machine learning, the idea is that AI assistants can take on some of the cognitive burden for human workers, who can focus on tasks they are better suited to.

It’s already happening at many businesses: A 2020 Deloitte survey of 1,300 CIOs and senior technology leaders found that only 12% of organizations are using AI to replace workers, with 60% using to AI assist staff instead.

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