The adoption of AI applications isn’t about replacing workers but helping workers do their jobs better.

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SwissCognitiveArtificial intelligence barely left the headlines last year. If you believe everything said about AI, you’d probably be kept awake at night, worrying about impending job losses thanks to automation and perhaps even the robot apocalypse.

The reality is perhaps a little less Hollywood blockbuster. Ultimately, jobs are going to change, however, instead of sweeping unemployment in all industries, there will be a shift in the way we work and the types of jobs that people will undertake. Instead of focussing on AI, businesses should be looking at augmented intelligence instead.

Supplementary to humans, not a substitution

Augmented intelligence was coined to describe how normal human intelligence is supplemented through the use of technology. Throughout history, humans have used technology like computers, email, and social media to change the way we work, live, and interact. Now, as we usher in the new AI-driven era, augmented intelligence is being used to describe how AI is going to interact with people; not through replacing them, but through improving what they already know.

A good case in point can be seen through our current use of Siri, Cortana, and Amazon Alexa. These virtual AI assistants have become a common part of nearly every home, laptop, and smartphone. We’ve become used to asking them to order items for us, to remind us of things, and to call our friends and family. It might not seem like much yet, but this is an indication of where AI is going. It helps us carry out menial tasks so our time and headspace can be used on higher-level thinking.

Consider the opportunity

So, when considering the workforce of the future, our gut instinct probably shouldn’t be fear. Instead, we should consider the possibilities of how businesses can take advantage of this. First, with AI sifting through the masses of admin that we have to do every day, employees will be able to move onto more productive and strategic tasks. The working day will become more productive as paperwork is handed off to an AI. There’s also likely to be better workplace satisfaction as employees will no longer waste hours on admin they do not enjoy. […]