Robotics, AI affecting jobs; employees need to adapt, reskill

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Rise in adoption of new digital technologies will have a significant impact on the job market and employees need to adapt to changing technologies and develop fresh skills to make themselves relevant, say experts.

While some technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics will create job opportunities, it will affect some traditional and repetitive jobs.

In such a scenario, it will be a major challenge for companies to retain staff strength in coming years as these changes have already started and are likely to intensify in coming years. Yannick Binvel, President, Global Industrial Markets, Korn Ferry, a global advisory firm, said some of these technologies are going to make people work “differently”. “Artificial intelligence is going to modify the workstation, and modify the way people are working today,” he said.

Binvel further noted that “technology is going to change the nature of jobs. Technology is going to be a real enabler for value creation, but nothing is going to change the capacity of a man or a woman to make a humane decision based on their empathy”. “The combination of man and machine can be very effective and we need to see technology not just as an enabler but also as an additional capability offered to improve the welfare at work,” he added.

According to a PwC-Assocham report on AI and robotics, few Indian startups are initiating development of conversational bots, speech recognition tools, intelligent digital assistants and conversational services to be built over social media channels.

Online shopping portals have extensively been using predictive capabilities to measure consumer interest in products by building a targeted understanding of preferences through collection of browsing and click-stream data and effectively targeting customers using a multi-channel approach. “More and more machines are taking over repetitive work in the manufacturing sector as well as in the legal industry,” said Jean-Marc Laouchez, Global MD, Solutions for Korn Ferry Hay Group.

Laouchez noted that “so there will be an impact, and many of our clients in the last six months are embracing a lot of automation, artificial intelligence. As a result, the workforce would have to be more flexible to adapt to new technologies and develop new skills”.

According to a report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Con- federation of Indian Industry (CII), a new approach is required to support job

creation in this changing face of globalisation. “Protectionism is on the rise and Industry 4.0 is changing the costs and productivity of manufacturing, eroding the advantage held by low-cost labour intensive countries and reshaping global supply chains,” the report said.

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