Here at 100% Human HQ we spend lots of time reading about the dreaded robots coming to take all of our jobs.

So today I wanted to take a few minutes of your time to ponder the positive impacts tech and AI might have on the future of work and jobs. Is there a world in which we see the ‘robots’ as our friends, here to make our jobs better, replacing soul destroying jobs with more meaningful ones to truly add value to what we do.

I recently attended KPMG’s annual Advantage Digital event and was interested to learn more about digital advances in healthcare. This is one of the spaces that have the potential to be impacted the most by technology and AI and to add transformative value creating risk to jobs.

In the UK, the NHS is likely to be further and further tested due to the ageing population. As we see new technology based solutions entering the space of healthcare - think mobile health tracking devices, streamlining of services, greater accuracy of information, virtual reality training for surgeons and other advances in healthcare - there is the opportunity to meet this rise in demand using technical solutions that also result in better care outcomes. Technical solutions and AI become a strategic imperative, this does not mean that jobs for humans will disappear but can be targeted to provide more effective care and increase capacity.

In this lovely article How to Become a Centaur, Nicky Case discusses the idea of augmented intelligence. Rather than focusing on AI as something that we are in competition with that take over our roles, how do we combine human strengths with those of AI to create Intelligence Augmentation (IA), thus creating a beautiful symbiosis where together we can achieve greater things than separately?

Thyssenkrupp gives us a lovely example of this with their introduction of Microsoft Hololens for their lift engineers. Rather than replacing their workers they see this as empowering them to take more ownership of their work and improve safety, whilst also improving efficiency. You can find out more about it here. 

Even Elon Musk has been singing the praises of the human contribution this week following the challenges Tesla have had with the Model 3, taking to Twitter, he said: "Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake – humans are underrated."

For all of the positive examples of where AI and technology can create better jobs and outcomes for humans, there is still the potential for roles to be automated and for people to not have the skills for the new jobs that might be created. 

There is a very real responsibility on business to think about the impact technological development and AI will have on people, jobs and society – and there is a responsibility on us all to make sure that we don’t just take part in a race to bottom, where efficiency and cost reduction is viewed as the only priority.

We’re really committed as a community to driving and shaping a positive vision for the future and thinking about how the 100% Human at Work Network can be part of shaping the future of work that we want. A future that is focused on inclusion and equity of opportunity for all and we believe technology and AI can play a vital role in achieving that.


Read more from our 100% Human at Work series - powered by The B Team and Virgin Unite