Last updated: 30 January 2017
The robots are coming, according to the World Economic Forum 2017. Government and private sector leaders gathered in Davos to discuss the major political and economic issues facing the world. A key theme was the impact of technology on jobs and businesses. Different opinions were expressed; HP CEO, Meg Whitman, warned that action is needed to address the loss of jobs due to technology, but SalesForce chief, Marc Benioff, expressed optimism that innovation will create new roles and new industries.
While there are understandable concerns over the impact of technology, we think the future is positive. The IoT is going to create more intelligent employees, allowing them to access huge volumes of data to make more informed decisions. Furthermore, it’s going to make work more flexible, rendering the traditional office space increasingly obsolete. Artificial Intelligence, rather than replacing work, is going to be a liberating force, freeing workers from repetitive tasks and allowing them to focus on creative and strategic activities. What we should really be worried about is securing these new technologies.
The IoT is going to revolutionize the way we work. If you read our digital banking series, you’ll know how big data is helping financial institutions make better lending decisions, while ensuring deeper customer understanding. These advantages are likely to extend to more businesses, boosting productivity and ultimately the economy.
Plus, the connected employee is set to become a reality. The rise in IoT-enabled devices, such as smart glasses, wristbands and powerful tablets, will equip workers with the tools to perform better. Just imagine how much more successful an aircraft engineer would be wearing connected smart glasses, enabling information on the plane to be fed into their field of vision while they fix a problem. The same applies to a corporate leader; think about how much more productive a boardroom meeting might be if directors had a constant stream of data flowing to them via IoT-enabled wearables.
Our recent Connected Living 2025 survey of young people across the globe revealed widespread enthusiasm for the workplace of the future – and we can certainly see why.
AI tends to be portrayed negatively in Hollywood, fueling “they’re taking over!” narratives. However, we think robotics and automation could liberate us from monotonous, repetitive tasks. In future, work will become less about administration and more strategic and creative in nature. As IBM CEO Ginni Rometty stated in Davos, AI will usher in a new era of partnership between man and machine.
The rise of AI will allow us to concentrate on what makes us human. Our ability to create, think strategically and critically and drive change will always mean we have the edge over robots in the workplace. So, rather than worrying about AI taking jobs, we ought to be thinking about educating our children to lead, empathize and communicate.
The real worry…security
While we’re optimistic about the future of work, there is a major obstacle – and that’s getting the cyber security right. The IoT is going to lead to an expansion in data, while the rise of mobile working is going to place more pressure on company networks to deliver cloud-based systems. Vulnerabilities could allow hackers to cripple organizations, potentially seizing control of organizational AI systems and wreaking havoc. We’ve covered real life examples of this on the blog before.
With cybercrime projected to cause losses of $2 trillion by 2019, companies need to develop strong identity management systems, as well as deploying tools like encryption and tokenization to combat cybercriminals. In addition, employees need to be educated about the devious techniques hackers use, such as phishing, where they try to trick workers into giving away valuable credentials.
Check out our Cyber Investigator comic story to find out more about the damage a successful cyber-attack can inflict – and what enterprises should do to minimize the risks.
In conclusion, as long as we get the security mechanisms right, we think the future of work looks optimistic. What’s your view on the role of technology? Let us know by tweeting to us at @Gemalto.