Just as Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly integrated into our personal lives, notably through assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, so too is AI changing the future of work. Forrester Research predicts investment in AI in the workplace will increase 300 percent in 2017 and by 2021 will affect most industries and redistribute the workforce.

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, robots, automation, and more will continue to eliminate millions of jobs in the future. In response, new skills will be in demand and new positions created. These changes will necessarily change workplaces needs and cultures.

Let’s look at eight ways AI is changing the world of work in 2017.

Performing Administrative Tasks

AI apps can handle a growing number of routine time-consuming administrative tasks, allowing workers to focus on more productive activity. For example, users describe scheduling assistant, “Amy” from X.ai as “magic.” White collar workers who no longer need to spend seemingly-endless time on round robin emails with coworkers to arrange and schedule meetings will have more bandwidth to focus on productive, revenue, and profit-generating activities.

Managing Human Capital

The most valuable asset in any workplace is the workforce. Robots will never completely replace people—or, at least once they do, there will no longer be workplaces for humans—so supporting employees remains vital to any thriving business. From analyzing applicant qualifications to administering benefit programs, companies will increasingly use AI to enhance the human resources function.

Increasing Efficiency

Every company, even the smallest, collects ever-growing data sets. Use of machine learning via AI as a tool to analyze these data will increase in 2017. Productivity improvements from more and better quality data analysis will fundamentally reshape not only worker efficiency but also the configuration of workplaces in every industry.

Improving Customer Service

As with automation of administrative tasks, AI will increasingly handle frontline customer service tasks in 2017 through applications such as chatbots. Artificial Intelligence offers workplace promise beyond replacing call centers, however. By better understanding customer needs, employees will be able to go beyond quick fixes to truly solve customer problems.

Growing Sales

Sales representatives will use AI to generate more and higher quality leads. Also, sales people can use AI to craft customized sales proposals. Companies that best tailor products and services to meet market needs will win increasing shares of business. Artificial Intelligence tools will be the means to growing revenue results.

Facilitating Collaboration

In addition to handling routine coworker interactions such as scheduling meetings, AI will allow employees to more effectively collaborate across functions. For example, input from in-person sales meetings with customers enabled by AI-supported proposals will inform the work of product managers as they guide cross-functional teams in creating customer solutions.

Supporting Innovation

Artificial Intelligence technology is creating opportunities in the workplace for greater innovation in products and services. As workers are freed from mundane tasks such as scheduling, gain better insights from vast data sets, receive valuable feedback from customer interactions, and more effectively collaborate across functions, their ability to not only improve existing company offerings but to create new ones that drive industries forward will continue to grow. These changes could lead to increased job satisfaction and drive up retention and down turnover.

Reshaping the Workforce

Reshaping the Workforce
Source: AI at the workplace: Opportunities and Challenges

As the use of Artificial Intelligence grows in the workplace, the skills companies need in their workforce will shift. In 2017, businesses will begin to recognize and anticipate how hiring needs will change as AI adoption grows. Although there is a growing recognition of job loss that will take place due to technology, smart companies will seize the opportunity to augment their workplaces (and bottom lines), not just replace workforces.

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