The argument for an AI-augmented workforce

Many people are concerned about allowing AI to augment our workforce. They think it might slowly take over the jobs and careers of human beings.

They fear the fictional concepts from sci-fi movies where robots replace humans in their jobs and gradually take over the world might slowly come true.

However, human beings with their intuitive thinking, emotional quotient and quality judgement can never be replaced by any super-intelligent machine but can be augmented, supported, and boosted using AI.

What do we do when humans who are struggling at work, increasingly becoming reluctant and lacking motivation towards work, need? They require some AI augmentation, or, might I say, some AI magic to the rescue.

Well, the debate for an AI-augmented workforce can go on and people may genuinely be concerned about machines replacing humans in the workforce, but nobody can deny the tremendous value which AI adds or can add to the workforce, especially in the following areas.

Hazardous jobs which AI can do

Some jobs may be necessary and important for our human civilisation to grow but the execution of those jobs can be very dangerous.

Such jobs can be risky and highly hazardous. Artificial Intelligence can come to the rescue of humans in such cases. AI can also operate such tasks in environments where humans cannot. Some instances of such hazardous jobs are:

  • Industrial welding– Highly dangerous job where a single moment of inattention can cause a huge mishap. Robots handle this job withstanding intense heat, toxic fumes and noise while being highly productive and efficient.
  • Application of toxic paints and adhesives– Inhalation of toxic fumes can be very hazardous, whereas robots can handle it effortlessly while improving the consistency and accuracy of the work.
  • Lifting, moving, and stacking heavy objects- Tasks such as these cause stress injuries over a period of time. It can be easily manoeuvred by robots.
  • Robots can be designed to withstand high heat and perform.
  • Chemical factories, electrical line repairing, and roofing are some other areas where the work is dangerous for humans to do.

According to the International Labour Statistics, around 2.3 million people all over the world succumb to such work-related accidents because of working in hazardous environments, and 160 million people fall ill because of workplace hazards. Let us leave the business cost out and just consider the enormous personal loss to the loved ones who lost them because of the nature of work.

Surely humans need better dignity at work and protection from any kind of hazard at their workplace.

AI can do hazardous tasks

An AI-augmented workforce which includes automation and robotics can help the industries which involve the jobs mentioned above perform them error-free, efficiently, and not at the cost of human lives.

Computer vision and machine learning are some of the AI technologies which will allow machines to do such jobs effectively and safely.

AI used in monitoring risks

Businesses can use AI to monitor safety concerns and workplace hazards in places where humans execute the labour.

Computer vision technology can be used to monitor warehouses and identify hazards and also can be used to check if the humans are wearing protective gear properly or not.

Furthermore, machine learning-based predictive analytics can suggest when accidents are more likely to happen, based on factors such as the hours an employee has been working, age, experience, time of the day, etc.

Tedious and redundant jobs which AI can do

Several industries are facing an unusual shortage of workforce. Industries such as retail, manufacturing, food service, agriculture, and many more have several job openings where employers are struggling to find the manpower.

Many of these jobs include boring, repetitive tasks with room for humans to make errors. In addition, these jobs also do not pay much which adds to the further woes of employee dissatisfaction. The pandemic followed by the great resignation and several political changes has resulted in the further decline of workforce participation. To attract a workforce, increase productivity and avoid burnout of employees, an AI-augmented workforce is a good answer.

Chatbots driven by AI and digital co-workers can be an excellent solution to this problem of severe labour shortage.

With a human in the loop always, humans are augmented by their digital helpers who perform mundane tasks while also communicating, extracting, and interpreting data.

Complex jobs which AI can do and humans cannot

There are certain jobs that might be very important, but humans do not have the time, the mental acuity and the ability to perform those tasks. Since AI-driven applications have a high speed of execution, higher operational ability and high accuracy, it is possible for AI to execute these tasks successfully. Let us take some instances:

  • Scrutinize thousands of customer accounts to identify and prevent fraud.
  • Analyze thousands (or millions) of business transactions for financial analysis/insights.
  • Identify the right candidate by examining thousands of resumes of job candidates.

Not just relieving humans from undesirable tedious tasks, AI can augment humans in leveraging solutions to advance the business scenario and help humans do meaningful work.

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