In July 2017, Allegis Group, a talent solutions provider based in Hanover, Md., released findings from a survey of more than 300 HR professionals, senior-manager level and above, who reported mixed feelings about AI and its impact on the future of work. The research found that 21 percent view AI as something to be excited about, 17 percent consider it both disrupting and enabling, and a lower number, nine percent, believe AI will displace most jobs in 10 years.

This mixed view of AI is not surprising because the technology does more than automate tasks. The person whose role no longer includes a certain repetitive task automated by AI may not necessarily lose their job. “Rather, they may now have new responsibilities that more broadly focus on human capabilities that AI cannot deliver,” Rachel Russell, executive director of corporate strategy at Allegis, said.

Increasingly, as more research is carried out into the impact of artificial intelligence in the workplace, it is becoming clearer that AI's impact on employment will have some jobs disappearing. However, in this (near) future the role of humans will be to direct AI rather than for humans to be replaced by it. “Of course some jobs will certainly be lost as AI takes on skills formerly attributed to humans, but new jobs will also emerge…In addition, there will likely be new needs beyond technical development, such as AI ethicists to manage the risks and liabilities associated with AI,” Russell added.

As AI takes on more of the work we do, continuous learning and a willingness to develop new skills will likely be a requirement for nearly every worker to maintain their job. AI, it seems will be instrumental in changing and optimizing the digital workplace.

Related Article: 8 Examples of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Workplace

1. AI’s Impact On Data Analysis

Maksym Podsolonko is CEO and founder of Slovenia-based eazyplan, which brings automation to event creation and management. He says that given the amount of data used in any business transaction now, AI is the only way to analyze everything that is available to decision makers. “AI is the only way to effectively analyze digital experiences on scale. Only Machine Learning (ML) is capable of sifting through all usage data and finding the patterns that human eye simply misses. At this stage majority of organizations are not using this opportunity, leaving analysis of data coming from different tools mainly manual or slightly automated with SQL,” he said.

He argues that current offerings are still too complicated and expensive for a wide use. As a result, within the coming years we will see a significant surge of easily-accessible tools automating data analytics with ML.

2. Improving Intelligent Marketing

As companies undertake significant digital transformation initiatives, it is also becoming clear that artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer just an interesting idea, according to Katrin Ribant, Chief Solutions Officer and co-founder of Datorama, a marketing intelligence company based in New York City.  “AI-enabled solutions are already changing how work gets done in marketing, customer experience and customer service departments. These departments are already aware of how AI can meet their various needs and streamline certain processes,” she said.

According to Ribant, the future decision makers will look to the vendors that AI-driven specializations. “Moving forward, professionals in these fields will look to vendors who can provide specific AI-driven features on top of their core offerings”.

She also points to the fact that enterprises are using AI to build digital experiences as AI-powered tools become more adept at workplace tasks. Some chatbots used by customer experience and customer service departments are able to pass the Turing test, making them indistinguishable from a human.

Marketers are freeing up to 80 percent of their day spent number-crunching with AI-enabled marketing technology platforms. A recent study showed that 53 percent of marketers plan to adopt AI within two years, the highest percentage of all technologies they are evaluating. These changes signal the widespread adoption of AI in the enterprise that is on the horizon and will fully optimize digital experiences.

Related Article: Why the Benefits of Artificial Intelligence Outweigh the Risks

3. Securing The Digital Workplace

AI is also being used to secure the digital workplace. If there is a great deal of talkabout AI’s wide-ranging impact on digital experiences in every vertical and discipline, one of the most important contributions is in the way it is enabling a whole new generation of digital security experiences. “AI-enabled software and dedicated chipsets together with tiny and accurate 3D cameras, are now allowing for fast, secure and transparent recognition, authentication and access management capabilities,” George Brostoff, CEO of SensibleVision, said.

He explained that one of the reasons these new authentication solutions are so transformative is that AI allows for the rapid capture, analysis and manipulation of the tsunami of information captured in big data sets. Digital experiences tied to authentication and credential validation enabled by AI are much faster, more convenient and at the same time more secure.  

Learning Opportunities

AI-enabled digital experiences deliver this new authentication paradigm across broad set of enterprise applications and settings. “The newest generation of AI-enabled smartphones allows users to simply point a handheld device at their face to validate their identity. We are also seeing Enterprise-level applications in more public setting,” he said.

There are many more AI-enabled authentication applications coming into play, including the use in urban settings of AI-enabled 3D video cameras to monitor access to physical locations such as data centers, hospitals or transportation hubs.  All of these innovative digital experiences tied to authentication are being made possible by the ongoing evolution and application of AI. And we are only at the very early stages of this transformation.

4. Enabling Digital Learning

Raphael Sweary is co-founder and president of San Francisco-based WalkMe, which brings predictive analytics to digital workplaces. Sweary says that using AI coupled with deep analytics, enterprises can predict user behavior to provide step-by-step guidance and engagement on how to use a system, allowing the individual to be an instant pro on how to use technologies they haven't encountered before.

With global IT spending expected to reach upwards of $3.7 trillion this year, ensuring an optimal digital user experience, improved productivity and measurable return on investment is paramount. We are already seeing big business capitalize on AI — and we can expect that in the near future, AI will learn about the user so that we don't need to learn how to use any software,” he said.

5. Recruiting Help From AI

For Jonathan Duarte, founder of one of the internet’s first job boards called for, the recruiting process for most companies, from small businesses to global enterprises, is ripe for process automation. There are several manual steps in the process that are currently being automated using subsets of artificial intelligence; including natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. The debate in the recruiting and HR circles is whether this is true AI or not, but it is coming and coming quickly.

Take, for example, setting up interviews — necessary but time consuming. Historically, these tasks have been handled by recruiting coordinators or recruiters, who juggle multiple phone calls and email exchanges in order to book rooms and schedules for multiple participants, and then get confirmations. “Process automation, using messaging, algorithms, and digital calendars are going to rapidly change the interview scheduling process, and therefore  eliminate a significant amount of manual processes handled by recruiting coordinators. This technology has yet to be deployed to the mass market, but it is coming. So, predicting the loss of this labor requirement is clear,” he said.

6. Using AI to Prioritize Data

Agata Celmerowski, VP of Marketing at Klaviyo the email marketing automation platform for ecommerce said that the most important capability is the interaction between data and AI. She said that brands and other enterprises need to think about the data they’re collecting, how they’re storing it, and how they can use it to create a better experience for their customers. “Without that focus, they'll be limited in what they can do with AI. It’s important to view data as a strategic business advantage, and use it to make personalized content,” she said.

She added that the marketing industry is at a tipping point. “There is simply too much noise. Using brute force to try and cut through the clutter will stop working altogether in 2018. The only path to success for an ecommerce businesses of any size will be in making every interaction with current and prospective customers incredibly relevant to the consumer,” she said.

2018 is the year where using accurate, rich, and meaningful data to enhance every customer touchpoint will stop being optional, she said. It will become the new status quo for every ecommerce brand. Merchants who can’t quickly and effectively use things like website behavior, purchase patterns, or engagement metrics to drive their marketing strategy will be left behind.

From there, the natural progression will be applying increasingly sophisticated techniques to analyze that data and determine the best ways to accelerate growth. There’s a lot of hype in martech space today around things like artificial intelligence, but so far it’s been a series of empty promises.