Back To The Future: What IT Will Look Like In 20 Years.
Technology is advancing at an exponential rate, which makes it quite challenging to gaze into the crystal ball of IT and determine what the future holds. However, by studying the current trends in technology it starts to become clear what will have the biggest impact on the future, and currently, automation and AI seem to be playing a substantial role in shaping IT’s future.
As automation and AI increase their presence in the workplace, team members will be working with machines that are smarter than ever before. This means that individuals who possess high-level cognitive abilities including creativity, decision making, and critical thinking, will be in high demand over the next decade.
There will likely be a transfer of data input and processing jobs over to automated machines, while complex problem solving, and entrepreneur creativity will remain in the able hands of humans. To view this in a positive light is to see it as an opportunity to rid ourselves of day to day minutia in order to focus on bigger picture issues and decisions.
A Shift Toward Specialized Teams
It is likely that specialized teams will become more prominent in the workplace, replacing the traditional top-down approach to operations. Experts believe that these teams will fluctuate in size based on current needs, as highly skilled and diverse sets of employees work together to handle needs as they arise. This will result in teams that are more modular and scalable.
No More Middle Management?
A report from Gartner suggests that the rise of specialized teams who work independently will result in a reduced role for middle management. The shrinking role of middle management will be necessary for companies who look for ways to improve efficiency in a cost-effective manner. There has already been a change of role for line managers due to the rise of automation within the realm of logistics and supply chain management. The same will likely become true for middle managers as well, as their presence will ultimately become more of a burden than a benefit to teams.
The Proliferation of AI Bosses
To many, the thought of being managed by an algorithm might seem unappealing. However, this concept is already being utilized by organizations like Uber, whose drivers are assigned work, provided pricing, and reviewed by computers. An argument can actually be made that algorithm management is as easy to accept and work with when compared to humans.
The lack of choice for unexperienced Uber drivers is helpful, as computers make certain decisions for them in regard to pick up location, route, and choice of the customer. Eventually, an AI boss will optimize the work being done by the individuals that it manages, as it can detect patterns of behavior and suggest areas of improvement.
The Inherent Value of Humans
Despite the inevitable fact that technology will remove the need for workers tasked with data processing, middle management, and other areas of low-cognitive work, humans will still have a critical role to play in the workplace.
The emotional pieces of management including motivation, support processes, and the relaying of complex ideas will continue to require human workers. Machines don’t possess the emotional intelligence required to carry out these managerial tasks. Additionally, feedback, critiques, and compliments coming from a human are far more meaningful than when coming from a machine.
Another area where human workers will be needed is work that is deeply cognitive in nature. Most businesses will not be able to incorporate AI management in a meaningful way, as resources are limited and technology is still changing at a rapid rate. This means that most of the important and substantive work will remain in the hands of workers.
Although the process of adapting to this new automated and AI-driven world will be stressful, humans will be able to adapt with time and adjustments. It is helpful to view the changing business landscape with a wide lens, as technology will ultimately improve our lives and make the act of conducting business much easier. Don’t view automation in a negative or harmful light, as many just see it as a technology that will replace the need for humans. Instead, view automation as a way to transform our processes in a positive way in order to improve our existence and allow us to focus on what is most important.