- One in five workers plan to quit their jobs in 2022, a PwC survey reported.
- AI experts expect an increase in robot production to aid labor shortages and assist current employees.
- Jens Martin Skibsted and Christian Bason provide their insight on how AI and human labor could work together to benefit employees and companies alike.
As the Great Resignation lingers on, companies are turning to the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to make up for lost production. This strategy intends to compensate for labor shortages and aid existing employees with their output and efficiency.
Around 20% of workers plan to quit their jobs in 2022, according to PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, one of the largest of such surveys conducted. The survey reveals that 71% of workers prioritize being fairly rewarded financially and 69% of workers desire a fulfilling job.
Following this trend in worker expectations, businesses are looking towards AI opportunities to help alleviate stress from current employees and increase production. In fact, robotic implementation in the workforce is expected to surge as the labor shortage persists.
“We think we’re going to be in the golden era of robotics adoption in the United States and beyond,” Global X’s Jay Jacobs told CNBC. “We’re actually forecasting growth in industrial robots from 16 billion to 37 billion over the next 10 years with 2022 being that key inflection point.”
In this way, AI could be a key factor aiding companies during the Great Resignation, but this does not necessarily equate to a robot takeover that eradicates the need for human labor, two leaders in AI told Allwork.Space.
In a Q&A, Jens Martin Skibsted, VP Foresight & Mobility and council member of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Cities and Urbanization team, and Christian Bason, CEO of Danish Design Center share their insight on the Great Resignation and how AI is set to impact the future of work.
Allwork.Space: What lessons can businesses learn from the Great Resignation?
Skibsted and Bason: Businesses can be inspired by societies that haven’t joined the Great Resignation. Take Denmark for instance: In terms of job compensation the businesses have listened to and expanded the perceived needs of employees.
Instead of just pressuring salaries many companies have designed competitive and cost-efficient alternative rewards. Simply use design thinkers and consultants to revisit and calibrate company value and search for best applicable practices.
Allwork.Space: What are some of the pros and cons of AI in the workforce?
Skibsted and Bason: Ironically, some of the most digitized societies have the happiest people and workforce. The list of pros and cons of an AI workforce is contextual, not given and absolute.
Simply put, robots don’t pay taxes and increasingly take over jobs. The advantage is that by faster and cheaper labor, society as a whole can increase the economic output to afford unemployment.
However, there are methods to create a win-win situation. The perception of AI versus humans is a flawed perception. Although AI robots will be able to outsmart and outperform people at most things — probably except at expanding philosophical thought, true creation and creativity, AI has never and most likely will never surpass human-machine teams at anything. The future does not belong to humans OR AI. It belongs to both together — cobots if you like.
Whenever it has been theorized that machines will make humans redundant, new jobs were created to fill that “gap” and increase economic output. Digital currencies, calculators, cash machines and stock trading software did not kill the financial sector.
Allwork.Space: What concepts or strategies can help AI and human workers “get along” and drive more innovation?
Skibsted and Bason: To start with, we should discard western hubris and not just subjugate AI. Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics is a classic example of slave master thinking. The robots are made to serve and obey. We need to realize life in the future need not be biological.
Once we accept AI as a teammate you will see new forms of collaboration. It does not mean that AI will not have to abide by laws or code, but the laws need to reflect the complexity of this new reality. Human laws are increasingly complex, too.
Allwork.Space: Why is the “human factor” usually missing from innovations and why is it important to keep it first?
Skibsted and Bason: Innovation has been thought of as almost a scientific and technological discipline in the intersection of engineering and economy. Extractive companies and digital companies like Meta and Alpha have given us plenty of examples why this needs to change.
Now, as a result, increasingly our economy and value creation is being understood in a broader sense, at the service of humans, and hopefully soon the entire planet. And businesses are seeing that human centered design is good business, because, afterall, we are not robots.
Allwork.Space: How will all of this affect the future of work?
Skibsted and Bason: It is up to us, this will depend on the base values, needs and cultural wishes. A way of expanding a possible future and future business is to assess the six categories from expanding the future by design: We need to accept that life could be artificial and that all life is equal by nature.