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Friday, February 07, 2020

How Artificial Intelligence Enables a Diverse Workplace

While much of the prior interest in automation has focused on very limited worker categories and related tasks -- such as traditional manufacturing -- there's now a growing interest in exploring the potential to automate all types of repetitive work.

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications -- as an example, virtual personal assistants and chatbots -- are being adopted rapidly within the global workplace. By 2024, Gartner predicts that these technologies will replace almost 69 percent of the typical manager’s workload.

AI Applications Market Development

"The role of manager will see a complete overhaul in the next four years," said Helen Poitevin, vice president at Gartner. "Currently, managers often need to spend time filling in forms, updating information and approving workflows. By using AI to automate these tasks, they can spend less time managing transactions and can invest more time on learning, performance management and goal setting."

According to the Gartner assessment, AI and emerging technologies will likely transform the role of the manager and will allow employees to extend their degree of responsibility and influence, without taking on management tasks.

Gartner analysts believe that application leaders focused on innovation and AI are now accountable for improving their worker experience, developing worker skills and building organizational competence in the responsible use of AI.

"Application leaders will need to support a gradual transition to increased automation of management tasks as this functionality becomes increasingly available across more enterprise applications," said Ms. Poitevin.

Nearly 75 percent of heads of recruiting reported that talent shortages will have a major effect on their organizations. Enterprises have been experiencing a critical talent shortage for several years.

Organizations need to consider people with disabilities, an untapped pool of critically skilled talent. Today, AI and other emerging technologies are making work more accessible for employees with disabilities.

Gartner estimates that organizations actively employing people with disabilities have 89 percent higher retention rates, a 72 percent increase in employee productivity and a 29 percent increase in profitability.

In addition, Gartner said that by 2023, the number of people with disabilities employed will triple, due to AI and emerging technologies reducing barriers to access.

Outlook for New Diverse Workforce Applications

"Some organizations are successfully using AI to make work accessible for those with special needs," said Ms. Poitevin. "Restaurants are piloting AI robotics technology that enables paralyzed employees to control robotic waiters remotely. With technologies like braille-readers and virtual reality, organizations are more open to opportunities to employ a diverse workforce."

Applying AI for new employee diversity applications is likely to gain momentum in the years ahead. By 2022, organizations that do not employ people with disabilities will fall behind their competitors.