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Newer Technologies Will Change the World of Work

    AI, chatbots will change workforce by 2021, researchers forecast

    By Aliah D. Wright

    Within the next four years, artificial intelligence (AI) will eliminate jobs initially but will then create more jobs to overcome the shortage. Employees will turn to chatbots, rather than apps, to get work done, according to Top Strategic Predictions for 2018 and Beyond: Pace Yourself, for Sanity's Sake, a report by Gartner Inc., based in Stamford, Conn.

    These changes will force HR to adapt how it manages employees' interactions with these new technologies.

    "Technology-based innovation is arriving faster than most organizations can keep up with. Before one innovation is implemented, two others arrive," said Daryl Plummer, vice president and Gartner Fellow, Distinguished. Companies will "be required to develop a discipline around how pace can be achieved. … Speed of change will require variability of skills and capabilities to address rising challenges."

    How Technology Will Change the Workplace

    Here are the key takeaways from the Gartner report:

    In 2020, AI will create 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million jobs.

    "AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates through 2019[;] however, Gartner believes that the number of jobs created due to AI in 2020 is sufficient to overcome the deficit," the report states. Which jobs are eliminated will vary greatly by industry, with some industries experiencing overall job loss and some industries experiencing net job loss for only a few years. "Some industries, such as healthcare and education, will never experience job loss. AI will improve the productivity of many jobs, and, used creatively, it has the potential to enrich people's careers, re-imagine old tasks and create new industries," the report states.

    Of companies that have implemented automation, 77 percent report more job gains than reductions.

    While technology will take some jobs and transform others, workers will need to constantly upgrade their skills. Lifelong learning will be essential to keep pace with the technological changes in the workplace.

    The report also states that "today, chatbots are the face of AI and will impact all areas where there is communication between humans. Bots will take over some of the functions of apps and change the way users interact with technology. Bots will also increase employee engagement and automate tasks faster."

    By 2021, 40 percent of IT staff will hold "multiple roles, most of which will be business, rather than technology-related."

    IT specialists represent about 42 percent of the entire IT workforce in 2017 but, by 2019, Gartner predicts that IT technical specialist hires will fall by more than 5 percent as digital business initiatives require increasing numbers of IT employees to be more versatile, the report states.

    Regulations will change to ensure that companies are keeping data safe.

    As more devices connect to the Internet, HR professionals will need to make certain that devices connecting their organizations to the web are secure.