We have heard some CEOs contest the longevity of the knowledge based economy. As AI and digitisation takes a stronghold across most businesses and in nearly all industries, many CEOs are wondering if AI will replace jobs.
There is no doubt that significant technological advancements are disrupting how people think about and do work. To date, 9.1 million jobs have been lost to AI (Gownder study, 2013). In this study Gownder quotes the total global number of jobs lost (and a rather conservative estimate). The number is still significant; indicating that robotics and AI is likely to progress at an unprecedented rate.
CEOs are thinking deeply about the progress and impact of AI on their workforce. Whether it is software, robots, algorithms or automation, most CEOs know that AI is gradually taking over basic thinking and tasks. How long will it be until AI subsumes more complex, specialist knowledge based thinking and tasks? And what should CEOs be doing now to prepare their people for the future of work?
Job transformation: How AI is changing commercial management teams
AI technology is in its early stages and there are still glitches, issues, overloads and outages that need to be figured out by people. Buying software is still not the ultimate solution to your commercial challenges. You still need talented people to fix, solve and innovate problems and new ways of doing things.
AI is still about 25 years off automating complex thinking and knowledge tasks. There is no real evidence of AI stealing jobs. In fact, the number of system failures occurring is actually creating new jobs. People still drive technology, not the other way around.
The major disruption resulting from advancements in AI is not job replacement, but job transformation. Better technology changes the mix of jobs and re-prioritises skills, tasks and key attributes.
From now, you are going to see more of your pricing, business development manager roles and commercial management professionals getting involved in re-thinking commercial structures and managing people and less management accounting and manual price reviews.
You will also see the rising importance of the analyst: in flat organisations, the person closest to customer issues and problems is the person you need to listen to and the person to whom your customers communicate and trust.
Traditional leadership structures are changing daily; new kinds of creatives roles are being produced. There are so many commercial jobs that just didn’t exist even just a couple of years ago. Organise your people for the future of business and prepare well for change now (see team management skills).