Automation Forces a Rethink of “Jobs”

Source: HBR, Feb 2017

More nuanced analysis points to a less dystopian future where a great number of activities within jobs will be undertaken by intelligent systems rather than humans. This view, in effect, calls for a re-examination of what a “job” actually is: how it is structured, and how it should be reconfigured, or perhaps redefined, in the age of intelligent automation. How should companies rethink the value of a job, in terms of increased performance through machine intelligence? What set of skills should companies invest in? Which jobs should remain within the company, and which should be accessed via talent platforms, or perhaps shared with peers, or even competitors?

… five steps we recommend companies take to rethink work in light of automation and AI:

  • Gain clarity on pivotal vs. proficiency roles in your organization
  • Understand the specific nature of the relationship between performance and value for your pivotal and proficiency roles
  • Disaggregate the different parts of the curve shown in the chart above and determine how AI can play a role
  • Determine the specific activities that these different forms of AI might transform, and the relevant cost, capability, and risk implications
  • Plan for how stakeholders can be engaged in understanding and embracing the potential changes to work, recognizing the aforementioned biases and resistance factors
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