Feature Story

The future of work will be AI—how will you prepare?

by Stephanie Chan

The future of work will be AI—how will you prepare?

Artificial intelligence is the next wave of the workplace.

The future of work in the realm of technology can be a scary thought—many minds turn to Kubrick's HAL 9000 or even the actual reality of workplaces implanting RFID chips into their employees. But the future of artificial intelligence and work can be easier digest if you know what's coming; and it's definitely coming.

Forbes reports that by 2022, one in five workers will have AI as their co-worker, and Human Resources needs to start preparing today for totally automated roles in the future. If you look at the amount you are already interacting with chatbots outside of work, that can be a good indication of how employees may be speaking with departments like HR.

Those concerned that their job might be in danger shouldn't worry. Cisco's Kate O'Keeffe cites a McKinsey study that showed 45% of individual work activities could be automated using existing technology, but that doesn't mean that 45% of jobs are going away, just some elements. Harvard Business Review writes that while AI and robotic systems will dominate most labor and work within the next 100 years, humans will have more time in the realm of action—or the area of communicative activities between other humans.

Cisco is leveraging AI into the future of work in many different ways—one being through the acquisition of AI company MindMeld in 2017. Using this technology, Cisco incorporated artificial intelligence into the Spark platform to create the Cisco Spark Assistant. This Assistant makes it easier for you to start meetings, call, and navigate Spark devices. 

O'Keeffe's Cisco Hyperinnovation Living Labs (CHILL) will also be focusing on the Future of Work during their next 48-hour rapid prototyping lab in February. CHILL brings together partners, customers, and experts to collaborate and build prototypes that can create quick-moving innovation. Check out what they'll be focusing on here:

The company's Emerge team also focuses on technologies shaping the future of work. Some tech that they are working on include an always-on TV channel for remote workers and enterprise meeting rooms in virtual reality.