I was reading Seth Godin’s latest blog post last night, and he made a really interesting comment about the urgency with which we should all reflect on our place in the future world, where Artificial Intelligence has enabled many things that we do today to be automated.
If you consider the confluence [ref. Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2016] of Artificial Intelligence, General Purpose Machine Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data and Machine Learning, Seth’s statement carries even more weight as in addition to the 23 things he lists that AI can do better/faster/cheaper than you can, there is potentially huge disruption coming into the majority of workplaces in the next 5-10 years. That means that anyone age 50 and younger is likely to be impacted in some way. The requirements for any job is going to change. Do you have any idea how that might affect you or your business in the years to come as organisations prepare to take advantage in the technical advancements this will offer?
How can you determine the value that your role delivers to your organisation today? How can you show that the work you do on a daily basis supports critical business outcomes which contribute to the overall success of your business? How do you then build a level of understanding about which elements of your role may be subject to being replaced by any of the emerging technologies we are all hearing about today? Gaining this insight into your role, and the roles of your colleagues will help you to shape your place in the business of tomorrow.
Knowing your contribution and how that might evolve will allow you to consider how you can apply a level of creativity in support of your business which won’t be replaced by Artificial Intelligence or any other technology revolution for a significant period of time. Replacing manual and repetitive tasks will be the initial target for any of this emerging tech, meaning that the creative thought process humans are naturally gifted in (even if the education system tries so hard to beat this out of us – a topic for another day) is where value will continue be added. Understanding when and how new technology can be applied to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our businesses will remain in the realm of the creative human for some time to come.
Information Supply Chains provide a new perspective on people’s contribution to business outcomes. The relationship between people and the actions they take in support of the flow of information provides a unique perspective on the value that people add. This new knowledge helps to quickly identify actions which are subject to disruption. For example, the Project Officer who manually uses Excel to create weekly Management Information reports – this is a process which will be disrupted by machine learning enabling reports to be proactively delivered to management based on a set of business rules being met or violated.
If you happen to be this Project Officer, understanding the value of your contribution to the flow of information and realising that this is something that will be disrupted provides you with the opportunity to proactively drive change. You become the creative initiator of transformation and in Seth’s words, you begin to “understand the things that you can become quite good at that’s really difficult for a computer to do one day soon and in doing so, become so resilient, so human and such a linchpin that shifts in technology won’t be able to catch up.”
As Seth so rightly says, this perspective on our roles against emerging Artificial Intelligence, and the value we deliver has always been important, but now it is urgent. We believe that an Information Supply Chain perspective delivers such valuable and powerful insights that will help future-proof our roles as we learn new ways to work alongside this new and emerging technology that will drive our organisations futures.