Companies need to rethink their structures to survive AI disruption
Within the next fifteen years, all specialised professions will be automated by artificial intelligence (AI), writes Charles Towers-Clark, the group chief executive of Pod Group. This technological shift will bring radical change to the workplace and make the vast majority of jobs redundant. But, just as with previous industrial revolutions, these new technologies will pave the way for a whole new wave of sectors and jobs too.
In order to make this shift work for us, however, we need to understand how to apply this technology in business and change our company structures to promote our most agile and forward-thinking human attributes.
The changing face of telecoms
The telecoms sector is at the forefront of technology, having benefited from huge improvements in computing, network standardisation and operational systems (many of which are powered by AI).
Technology has also enabled a lot of operational automation, meaning new standards like embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC), 5G and hybrid cellular-LPWAN chipsets will only serve to reduce the sector’s human element – but, with uncertainty prevailing in the IoT, we can still prove our worth.
The combination of open-source innovation, improvements in sensor technology and a wave of endpoints represents a huge opportunity for both AI to consolidate the IoT and for humans to apply ourselves to the complex task at hand. With such a huge range of factors at play, we can harness our ability to generalise and face the unexpected to double down on our role in a new job market, where AI programmes will take care of repetitive tasks and humans will guide them towards wider business goals.
Break the chain
To encourage the combination of technological nous and business experience, companies need to rethink the top-down structures that have restricted creative thinking for generations.
Businesses need to create an environment where people are comfortable taking decisions in response to radical change, rather than waiting for orders from above. To do this, employers need to trust that they have the right people for the job and employees need to understand how their work fits into the wider picture in order to guide AI when it enters the workplace.
This change will require a higher level of responsibility than most organisations currently encourage their employees to take on, and the right framework is necessary to make the transition simpler for all involved.
The way ahead
Instead of dictating working hours, holidays or salaries, employees should be allowed to decide what’s best for them thus gaining a better understanding of how their work contributes to the wider company in the process. This introduces a trust-based, peer-checked system. When people don’t have barriers like this at work, they automatically focus more on the task at hand and feel more responsibility and pride for their work.
Those that have been trained to think independently and carefully consider their part in the company, will thrive in an environment mostly automated by AI, whilst those who have always done what they are told will soon find themselves unable to compete with robotic co-workers.
Companies that change their way of working now, especially those in sectors as complicated as telecoms, will be ready for the incoming AI revolution and will be able to embrace the technology’s power without sacrificing the human touch.