Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving at such a pace that that we see the fruits of this labor in almost every sector across the world. CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, Nicholas Goh, offers his take on the power of AI in Singapore’s workplace today, with some tips to embracing AI without being replaced

Since the 1950s, some of the world’s brightest minds and powerful personalities have tried to push the boundaries of human intelligence in the hope of creating machines that would mimic humans. Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving at such a pace that that we see the fruits of this labor in almost every sector across the world.

CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, Nicholas Goh, offers his take on the power of AI in Singapore’s workplace today, with some tips to embracing AI without being replaced.

“All jobs will be done faster and better by Artificial Intelligence”. This famous quote by Elon Musk, a South African-born Canadian American business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor, echoes the overall fear towards ‘Singularity’ across the world today.

Singularity is the phenomenon where machines (artificial super-intelligence) will be able to perform and surpass human capability at any given task, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization. The stuff that Terminator is made of.

However, the opportunities for career and business growth in the age of automation is vast for those who embrace new technology, and seek to lead the change rather than be made redundant.

To help employees future proof their career and business in the wake of automation, businesses can follow a 3C Framework.

Step 1: Collect

The reason why humans are the most advanced species on earth, is because we are able to assess current situations by marrying fact with intuition. Anyone who values his/her worth above technology must have their ear firmly to the ground and use that information—quickly and smartly—to analyse future outcomes.

Here’s how it happens.

First, study the workplace. Then, analyse each function to see which elements could be replaced by AI. Repetitive job functions that require efficiency and speed over empathy and initiative would top the list. A fine example of this is Amazon. The company now has 30,000 fulfillment robots working at warehouses across the world, and is expected to replace all employees who perform repetitive tasks with machines in the not-too-distant future.

Another example is DHL’s use of collaborative, smart Co-bots (robots designed to work alongside humans) to perform packing, kitting and pre-retail tasks alongside their human colleagues at one of their factories in the US.

On the other hand, as John Koetsier, Contributor to Forbes sees it, some job functions are so dynamic and conceptual in nature, it’s (almost) impossible to foresee a machine doing it.

Step 2: Curate

Once relevant insights and information have been Collected, it’s time to understand each person’s value and contribution to the big picture.

For example, a supply chain manager in a manufacturing firm needs to ensure delivery of raw goods on time to the production facilities. It’s about efficiency, engagement and empathy to gain optimum profits while fostering long-term partnerships.

A crucial role that requires a human touch… Or does it? How about a customer service officer at a bank? A smile, a friendly ear and personal touch cannot be replaced, right? Not so. ING, a major Dutch bank has replaced 5,800 human staff with robots. Similarly, Singapore’s Hotel Industry Transformation Map is an initiative towards automation to enhance guest experience and lift productivity.

So. Collect insights. Curate the possibilities. And with a reality check, realise that there’s a high chance AI can take over the workplace. So the world of AI is hurtling forward but it is still far from the powerful, self-evolving entity its lauded (or dreaded) to be.

The next step is key to ensuring that AI actually enhances our value and augments our intelligence.

Step 3: Create

Leadership is often a misunderstood, somewhat abused, phenomenon. Leadership is about action with vision. And true leaders of today are not those who are elected, but those who resolve challenges with foresight, compassion and intuition.

One day, two guys decided to rent their air mattress on the Internet for the day. Today, that company is valued at USD31 billion. We know them as AirBnB.

Three people decided to create a real-time marketplace for second-hand goods. We know them as ‘Carousell’ in Singapore. Global and local ideas born of intelligence, backed by information, founded on intuition and fueled by initiative. Human and inspiring, testament to the foresight and intuition of enterprising game changers.

The last step is all about creating. Not only in terms of technological breakthroughs but also in critically identifying self-worth levels and carving out a niche that is unique and indispensable.

Across the hospitality sector, the concept of a ‘door man’ is deteriorating. In the age of automated check-ins and smart keys for room access via mobile apps, the role of a front desk is rapidly diminishing.

But at Raffles Hotel Singapore—arguably one of the best hotels in the world—there works an irreplaceable legend. Narajan Singh, the hotel’s iconic doorman, is not just someone who welcomes guests to the hotel. He embodies the spirit of Raffles. When a guest arrives, he welcomes them to a world of Victorian grandeur with his signature style.

From Europe’s royals to Michael Jackson, this has always been a highlight at the hotel. He has created a behavior unique to himself; an algorithm across his job function that only he can deliver and has become an indispensable part of Raffles Hotel’s legacy.

Do you think he will be replaced by an AI anytime soon?

Let’s Collect, Curate and Create to lead the change.

About the AUTHOR

Nicholas Goh is the CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, a leading global content consulting company. Verztec assists companies around the world to design, develop, localize and publish their global communication messages and training into over 100 languages.

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