LONDON – Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be widely adopted in office environments in a variety of ways over the next few years as companies invest in digital workplace initiatives, Gartner analysts said today.
The trend is expected to grow steamy as voice-activated personal assistants, who have proven to be a success at home, start heading to the office.
By 2025, the technology «will definitely be mainstream,» said Matthew Cain, vice president and senior analyst at Gartner, even though privacy and security concerns have limited implementations so far. Cain was one of the analysts who spoke here at the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit.
Gartner has separately predicted that consumer and business spending on smart speakers will exceed $ 3.5 billion in 2021, with 25% of digital workers using an artificial intelligence assistant on a daily basis for the next two years. Several companies have already implemented the technology, although WeWork reportedly suspended the implementation of Alexa for Business last year.
«I think the only mystery here is: Why did it last so long?» Cain said. “I think we all see their value in our personal lives; talk about Alexa and Siri, Google and sooner or later Microsoft will launch around Cortana. But we’re just waiting [asistentes de voz en el lugar de trabajo ]: There is a huge demand. «
He urged companies considering technology to start developing IT skills in the implementation, management and security of the voice assistant.
Meet the new boss (robbery), just like the old boss
Gartner also hopes that artificial intelligence tools will help managers make better decisions. «Chief robots [serán] usual in 2025. We don’t necessarily say that everyone will report to an algorithm, so you can breathe a little easier, ”Cain said.
Instead, AI will help with the more mundane tasks that managers already perform.
«Let’s think about what managers do every day: set schedules, assign jobs, do performance reviews, provide career guidance, help you access training, approvals, cascading information and enforcing directives,» he said. Cain. «We can make AI do a lot of that.
“Your manager will not be replaced by an algorithm, but your manager will use a lot of AI builds to help you improve and streamline much of the routine work you do. We think this will be the combination. »
There will also be more built-in intelligence at work as smart office technologies become more common, Cain said.
«First of all, we will see that jobs have massive amounts of networks of beacons and sensors woven into the physical workspace,» he said. «It can be used for space optimization, heating and cooling, energy use, power supply. [y] Contextual data views while browsing the workplace.
«We will see how it combines with things like its own application for office hotels, finding roads and parking. Therefore, the physical workspace will have a lot of tools and intelligence. «
AI will increase first, not replace workers
Despite workers’ ongoing fears that AI and robots will get their jobs, for the most part, AI uses will be more prosaic.
By 2024, AI will be an «essential, but largely invisible, element of day-to-day work,» said Leigh McMullen, a senior vice president and analyst at Gartner. «Emerging forms of work will receive subtle help from AI.»
In many cases, workers are already interacting with AI, and software vendors are integrating machine learning into various office productivity applications.
Gartner survey data shows that employees expect AI to handle simple and routine tasks on their behalf, such as reducing errors, locating information, and verifying large volumes of data.
«Very few employees expect AI to help with serious problems,» said Helen Poitevin, another vice president and analyst at Gartner. «And employees do not expect miracles from AI, but only want help with daily activities.»
«Many employees are exposed to AI on a daily basis, but they may not recognize it,» Poitevin said. «We have spreadsheets that ask us if we want data models to be identified and viewed, word processors that have word editors, calendars that remind us when we need to go to the airport, and e-mail applications that are responsible for you.
«Everyday AI services will have a much greater impact on employees than highly specific and targeted AI applications for medical diagnostics or loan approvals or threat detection,» he said.
Increasing familiarity with AI should remove employees’ fears of losing their jobs.
Employees who are already familiar with AI are more optimistic about its impact on the workforce, Poitevin said. «If you’ve worked with AI services, you’re much less likely to fear the impact of AI on your work,» he said.
In general, Gartner expects AI to have a very beneficial impact on the workplace.
«There’s a lot of debate in the industry over whether AI is destroying or creating jobs,» Cain said. «Gartner’s view is that it creates more jobs than it eliminates, simply because we believe that AI creates high efficiencies in the business, which creates the space for business expansion, and business expansion allows for more employment.
«Certainly, there is a lot of fear of being replaced and yes, there are jobs that … will go to AI. But for most of us it will be more of an increase.
«AI will come in and start doing a lot of our routine work,» Cain said. «It allows us to focus more on the more creative, people-oriented aspects of those elements. Therefore, it is more [de] let your job change continuously rather than be eliminated. »