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    AI will have a big impact on jobs this year. Here’s why that could be good news

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    2024 is just a few weeks away, but one thing is already clear. The next 12 months will be the year that artificial intelligence (AI) moves from the fringes to the mainstream.

    While some companies have been using AI and machine learning technologies to improve operational performance for several years, organizations have found ways to bring generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot into their production environments. There's very little so far.

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    But that trend is expected to change over the next 12 months as more organizations consider and leverage generative AI, Forrester principal analyst David Brodeur-Johnson told ZDNET. Masu.

    “2024 will be the year that companies get serious about applying generative AI to their internal data sources and empowering employees to use information and insights to do their jobs better.”

    According to additional research by Digitate, 90% of IT decision makers All sectors plan to adopt automation over the next year, with 56% expecting their IT organizations to make significant progress over the next six months.

    But while employers are considering implementing automation, many employees are concerned that the increased use of technologies such as generative AI and machine learning may be far from good news.

    According to a study by Forester, As many as 86% of US employees Many people are concerned about losing their jobs to AI and automation, with almost a third (31%) believing this will happen in the next two to five years.

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    Digital leader response Global research by recruiters Nash Squared Digital leaders reach a similar conclusion, with an average of 17% of jobs they feel will be lost to automation.

    Bev White, CEO of Nash Squared, said in a one-on-one video chat with ZDNET that the increased use of AI will bring about major changes in the job market, but it's important not to jump to conclusions just yet.

    From the Industrial Revolution to today's digital age, the history of automation adoption has always revolved around the fear that jobs will be cut, she says.

    While AI and automation will lead to the obsolescence of some roles, the tools should also help transform many workplaces and job roles for the better.

    White mentions software development and cites research that suggests developers use GitHub Copilot. Complete tasks 55% faster than developers who don't.

    The same study found that 60% to 75% of developers say that using generative AI tools as part of their role makes them feel more fulfilled, less frustrated when coding, and able to focus on more satisfying tasks. It is reported that it has become.

    These jobs are also most likely to be taken over by AI.

    “Emerging technologies are speeding things up,” White says. “It's eliminating human processes that are too repetitive for a human to do and not really necessarily interesting, and replacing them with automated ways of doing things faster.”

    Even with increased levels of automation, businesses still require human involvement to effectively complete processes, such as responding to more complex customer service requests.

    And White says tactical deployment of AI and automation means there are more opportunities for professionals in all types of roles to focus on key business areas.

    “People will not only be able to do things faster, they will be able to do things cheaper, and they will actually have more time for the human elements that are essential to high-value processes: thinking time and decision-making time. ”

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    That's a sentiment echoed by Ben Elms, chief revenue officer at internet connectivity specialist Expereo. He says it's important to remember that nearly every implementation of technological innovation comes with a side effect of fear.

    “If you think about AI, 'It's going to change the world, it's going to take away people's jobs,' it's not, it's actually going to create more opportunities and jobs,” he said. To tell.

    Elms says the key to success is applying AI to the right use cases, citing examples from his company based on resolving customer service requests, many of which require standard answers. Masu.

    “These are highly reproducible tasks,” he says. “These requests are text-based, and many of the answers are effectively and quickly provided by AI. That capability allows people to get out of the service department and allows me to give them further training. , they can become front-line talent and improve the customer experience.” ”

    Hari Ramamurthy, a technology fellow at The Home Depot, is among business leaders who believe AI and automation will free up workers to focus on more interesting work.

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    “We believe this will improve employee productivity and assist with the tedious and monotonous aspects of what they are working on,” he says.

    Ramamurthy recently explained to me how the retail giant developed a machine learning-powered app known as Sidekick to increase staff productivity.

    The app also uses computer vision to help field staff identify items in hard-to-find locations.

    “Trying to search for some products overhead was a pain, and sometimes the items weren't where you expected them to be,” he says.

    “But technology like computer vision can help us find those products much easier. And this can be done by increasing employee productivity so we can better serve our customers.” That's the kind of thinking we have about how to really empower our people.” ”

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    This type of AI-enabled productivity improvement could offer public sector staff not only a way to relieve tedious and repetitive tasks, but also the opportunity to focus on potentially life-changing activities. there is.

    Michelle Smith, program manager at Barnardo's, a UK charity that supports more than 370,000 children, young people, parents and carers, says intelligent use of AI can help people focus on the frontline services that matter most. I think it will be.

    “Relationships keep us going,” she said in a video call. “That's where people get the most joy from work, and that's what motivates them. We work with a purpose, but we're so glued to our screens that we don't interact with our colleagues. , it becomes painful.”

    Smith says generative AI tools could help charities reduce administrative constraints and give people more time to think, collaborate and make decisions.

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    “I've worked in operations for years, and there have been many times where I've thought, 'Oh, I'd rather talk to people than go through the really boring process of checking paperwork,'” she says. .

    “It would be great to leverage new technology to free people up from processes and allow them to be creative in their roles. I'm looking forward to the opportunity. New technology.”

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