Adapting to a World with AI (Spoiler Alert: Humans Still Needed!)

Remember Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons? Fast forward from that cartoon future to our present reality: AI is no longer a novelty, it’s woven into the fabric of our lives.

Back then the main concern for automation taking away jobs was for “physical ones in “predictable environments,” including operating machinery and preparing fast food…”

“Unpredictable” jobs such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child and elder care are also less likely to see automation over the next decade, as they remain challenging to automate and don’t usually earn high wages, according to McKinsey.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/29/one-third-of-us-workers-could-be-jobless-by-2030-due-to-automation.html

Then, in 2022, the landscape of AI took a significant leap with the launch of ChatGPT, a large language model (LLM). 

LLMs are a type of AI with complex algorithms trained on massive amounts of data, allowing them to learn the patterns and structures of language. This has opened a new chapter in human-computer interaction, with LLMs like GPT, Gemini (Google AI formerly known as Bard), Grok, Claude, and others pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. These models can perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Answering your questions in an informative way, even on demanding topics.
  • Generating different creative text formats, like poems, code, scripts, musical pieces, and more.
  • Engaging in conversations that can feel surprisingly human-like.

 

Does not sound too promising for humans, does it?

But here’s the deal: humans will always be needed. Anyone who has ever visited a grocery store and encountered the voice repeatedly informing you of an “unidentified object in the bagging area” will know exactly what I mean. Robots alone aren’t quite there yet.

Companies must adapt to such nuisances and develop their employees while collaborating with emerging technologies. As customers’ expectations grow, there is an increasing demand for authenticity and personalized experiences.

Case in point: Amazon ditched its “Just Walk Out” cashierless system at its Fresh and Whole Foods grocery stores. 

The idea behind “Just Walk Out” is simple: let customers shop and leave, tracking their purchases through AI-powered video surveillance. You scan your phone at the door, and you get billed through your Amazon account.

A May 2023 report from The Information revealed a surprising detail. “Amazon had more than 1,000 people in India working on Just Walk Out as of mid-2022, whose jobs included manually reviewing transactions and labeling images from videos to train Just Walk Out’s machine learning model.” 

1,000 humans or more are actually watching you shop and tracking your purchase. It’s not just AI, is it?

While chatbots are competent at assisting humans with remedial tasks like online checkout and booking, they are not yet capable of understanding tone. 

We express 38% of what we want to convey to others through the tone of our voice. While robots may know how to pull from a vast amount of stored data, they can’t comprehend human emotions and feelings. Therefore, emotional intelligence (EQ) is our underlying competitive advantage. 

That’s right. Our emotions are the key to defeating … er, we mean working with the robots.

EQ, the ability to identify and manage one’s emotions and those of others, is measured and divided into four parts: 

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management. 

Researchers found that EQ accounts for 58 percent of job performance

This makes EQ the single biggest predictor of job performance and leadership ability—the survival of the emotionally intelligent, if you will.

Human relationships ground us. Empathy and emotion allow for successful customer experiences. While robots can assist humans with mundane and time-consuming tasks, they are not yet capable of displaying human connection or creativity. These factors cannot be programmed…yet.

Think of AI as a partner, not your replacement

While concerns about AI replacing jobs are understandable, the reality is more nuanced.

IBM:Almost one-in-four companies are adopting AI because of labor or skills shortages, and 30% of global IT professionals say employees at their organization are already saving time with new AI and automation software/tools.”

Source: https://newsroom.ibm.com/2022-05-19-Global-Data-from-IBM-Shows-Steady-AI-Adoption-as-Organizations-Look-to-Address-Skills-Shortages,-Automate-Processes-and-Encourage-Sustainable-Operations 

Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum:


Source: https://www.weforum.org/press/2020/10/recession-and-automation-changes-our-future-

We can choose to be either terrified or excited about the rise of artificial intelligence.

Successful organizations will be marked by their abilities to adapt to the changing environment. So, let’s think positive. The Jetsons’ version of our future is much better than the Terminator scenario. 

At Brown Bag, we welcome technological advancements that streamline operations while continuously investing in our most valuable asset: our Baggers.

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