Smart machines are increasingly making significant business decisions leading to decreased control by humans.
A new report by Gartner says that this trend is due to growth of sensor-based data combined with advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI).
Many industries in different verticals are already leveraging automation and robotics and this had made an impact on existing jobs in sectors such as manufacturing.
Gartner predicts that during the next five years, smart machines will be relied on to make more decisions that are of growing significance to the business.
"As smart machines become increasingly capable, they will become viable alternatives to human workers under certain circumstances, which will lead to significant repercussions for the business and thus for CIOs," said Stephen Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "In the 2015 Gartner CEO and business leader survey, opinions were equally divided on this issue and indicate that business leaders are starting to take notice of the advances being made and more readily acknowledge that the threat to knowledge work is real."
Perceptive smart machines
In the coming years, smart machines will become more perceptive due to the explosive growth of both physical and virtual sensors.
These machines will then be able to work more autonomously in support of business goals. Gartner says that although automation reduces work load, CIOs will have to analyse the risks and opportunities involved.
It has now become simpler to collect data about the physical world without direct human involvement due to the easy availability of low-cost computing devices, increased connectivity, sensor networks and the Internet of Things.
The report estimates more than 25 billion devices will be connected by 2020 creating a massive increase in this background data collection.
"In effect, smart machines are now collecting information about practically every facet of human activity on a continual, pervasive and uncontrollable basis, with no option to 'turn off' the activity. The potential reputational damage arising from uncontrolled and inappropriate data collection is well-established and can be substantial," added Prentice. "CIOs should work hard to increase awareness of this issue inside the organization and ensure that the implications of this activity are fully understood and that appropriate controls, processes and procedures are established."
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