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The Newest Workplace Phobia Isn’t Cleanliness, It’s AI

AI’s rise isn’t without its challenges but when it comes to workplace phobia, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

The onset of Covid-19 spurred plenty of discussion and debate around topics such as cleanliness and contactless everything, but it also highlighted the growing role of AI automation. From leveraging AI to help diagnose Covid-19 and take on delivery coordination, to automating customer service its presence has been far more visible. Add to that economic cost savings pressures and companies will almost certainly expand the role of AI post-pandemic at a breakneck pace. Despite widespread phobias centered around AI taking jobs, its implementation will be overwhelmingly beneficial for employees and even save lives.

Workplace Phobia Galore: AI Won’t Take Away, So Much as Redefine the Workforce

A  World Economic Forum (WEF) report stated that, although 75 million jobs are expected to be replaced by AI over the next three years, 133 million new roles will be created – a net gain of 58 million new jobs. To be sure, transitioning to the new “AI economy” will be no simple task, the WEF found that the price tag for government reskilling programs for those most vulnerable could come to $34 billion. Yet, if the shift is managed correctly, the benefits are innumerable and studies have shown that $15 trillion could be added to the world economy by 2030.

Re-Focus, Not Replace.

“Cardi” the call bot sounds friendly enough, Cardif Russia Insurance (part of the  BNP Paribas’ group), call center workers, there were plenty of apprehensions.

Read More: US Employees’ Perspectives on the Jobs Most at Risk from AI in the Workplace

Cardy did end up processing 21,000 calls per month and there was less employment demand, but that is where the threat ended and the benefits began. Call center employees were able to focus the vast majority of their time on more complex cases, while Cardy handled simple requests and acted as a filter for cases before human call reps were engaged.

The results were staggering – a 20% reduction in lost calls, and 40% lighter call load.

The Cardy case is just one example that my company, Just AI, has been involved with, and almost without exception across dozens of cases, the results are the same – readjusted roles. Beyond my own company’s experiences, radiology serves as perhaps the best example of AI causing a readjustment, and a positive one at that. Amidst rising demand for medical imaging, human radiologists struggle to cope. Implementing AI solutions, however, is leading to better prioritization of the scans and improving diagnostic accuracy.

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Lives are saved as a result, workloads become more manageable, and radiologists shift to spending more time on challenging cases.

Cheaper and Safer

AI’s impact on the job market isn’t just about what skills will become automated in a worker’s industry, but also about the general effects on key quality of life indicators such as purchasing power. Areas that are absolutely crucial to peoples’ lives and their cost of living – the healthcare industry is expected to see savings of $150 billion by 2026, while governments will save several billion per year. That does mean that some jobs will be lost, but the savings from those efficiencies will mean fewer costs for everyone and the ability to invest in better services, along with the aforementioned re-skilling of the workforce.

AI is disruptive, but much of that disruption will benefit workers, re-defining their roles to focus on more creative tasks, while enabling them to manage greater workloads without sacrificing quality. Those that are affected won’t be on their own, governments and plenty of private companies have a significant interest in incentivizing and educating the workers they need for the jobs AI creates.

And perhaps most encouraging is the fact that costs for vital services will decline and investments in life-changing and life-saving innovation are set to skyrocket.

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AI’s rise isn’t without its challenges but when it comes to workplace phobia, President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous words ring true, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

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