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Workplace Automation: Is Your Job in Jeopardy?

Hiroyuki Komatsu, Managing Director, Works Applications Singapore | May 26, 2016
What is artificial intelligence and can we really trust it? Is artificial intelligence really out to steal your job and mine? One thing is for sure: The job of the future (for humans, at least) won’t be mundane and routine.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Terminator. I,Robot. Blade Runner. Her. Films of thought-provoking, dystopian futures featuring artificial intelligence, that entertain with the implausible. "Not in my lifetime," you might have thought, until cars started driving themselves and the waiter at your favourite restaurant turns into touch-screen device that takes your order.

Speaking at an event organised jointly by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Singapore's Manpower Minister, Mr Lim Swee Say stressed the importance of having a manpower-lean economy. According to him, Singapore's ageing population is a cause for concern for enterprises who now need to find ways to streamline their workforce, such as through the deployment of technological solutions. One way to streamline is through the use of Artificial Intelligence. 

In recent months we've seen how Google's artificial intelligence won four out of five matches against South Korean Go champion, how it is able to fill in the gaps between one sentence and another unrelated sentence in a manner intelligent enough to writing convincing fiction. Then there numerous stories of accidents involving Tesla's self-driving car and of course there are stories on Siri and her latest sibling Viv - unlike Siri that is infamous for firing up a smartphone timer, Viv would be able to answer complex questions and interact with third-party services as well as interact with online businesses.  With artificial intelligence gaining prominence on headlines, it becomes impossible not to worry about the implications of such technologies, and robots and artificial intelligence stealing our jobs.

What is artificial intelligence and can we really trust it? Is artificial intelligence really out to steal your job and mine?

Artificial intelligence can be defined as the ability of computer systems to perform task normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision making and translation between languages.  Unlike the dystopian picture painted by Hollywood and the media, artificial intelligence is actually already very much part of our daily lives. Identifying photos, recognising commands spoken into a smartphone (as in the case of Siri) and responding to internet searches, are all examples of artificial intelligence at work.

An Oxford University study identifies the jobs most at-risk of computer automation in the next two decades, and while the data looks grim, there's a silver lining to this - the job of the future (for humans, at least) won't be mundane and routine.

 Here are five tips on how you can future-proof your job.  

1.       Learn to be a Superior Collaborator

The economy is now run by groups of people coming together, regardless of geographical location, to tackle challenges while surrounded by technology that enables them.  In fact, in this new workplace, people are the most important ingredient for success.  


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