Redesigning Work in an Era of Cognitive Technologies
Cognitive technologies will change the employment landscape in the coming years, leading to the redesign of jobs and the introduction of new types of work.
Cognitive technologies will change the employment landscape, leading to the redesign of jobs and the introduction of new kinds of work.
of artificial intelligence (AI) has provRAPID PROGRESS IN THE FIELD voked intense debate about the implications of this trend for society. Some see a driver of economic growth and boundless opportunities to improve living standards. Others see existential threats ranging from killer robots to widespread technological unemployment. Though we believe the worst of these fears are overblown, cognitive technologies — the products of the field of artificial intelligence (AI) — cannot be ignored. They are an emerging source of competitive advantage for business and are on their way to ubiquity at work and at home.
Artificial intelligence researchers have sought to develop techniques to enable computers to perform a wide range of tasks once thought to be solely the domain of humans, including playing games, recognizing faces and speech, making decisions under uncertainty, learning, and translating between languages. We distinguish between the field of AI and the technologies that emanate from the field, which we call ‘cognitive technologies’. Commonly used cognitive technologies include machine learning, computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing and robotics.
Over the next three to five years, cognitive technologies will likely have a profound impact on work, workers and organizations. These technologies can and will be used to eliminate jobs; but they will also make it possible to redesign work, creating new opportunities for workers and greater value for businesses and their customers. In this article we will discuss the automation choices ahead and describe the cost and value associated with each.
There is an active, often sensationalist, debate underway over the impact of cognitive technologies on employment. One side