Inside IT
How Will the Future of IT Change Labor?

After the Go match between Se-dol Lee and AlphaGo in March, interest in AI (Artificial Intelligence) has increased significantly. People were shocked when AlphaGo showed off its superior skills verses Se-dol Lee. But people’s interest in AI didn’t stop there. There are ongoing discussion about how the development of IT will directly affect people’s lives.

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Google DeepMind Logo (Source: https://deepmind.com/)

Today we will take a look into how technological development and changes in society will impact the work done by people in IT. We will also look into how these changes will affect the labor market as a whole.

The Impact of AI on the Future IT Industry

AI is programmed to function in a similar way to the human brain and learn through the processing of vast amounts of data and past experiences. With this ability to learn, AI will be able to perform tasks in place of humans in the not too distant future. AI will of course be able to replace basic roles in the labor force, but there are also predictions that the demand for specialists such as statisticians and lawyers may decrease due to AI.

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Particularly in the IT industry, AI will be able to replace humans with basic infrastructure management and automation of mundane IT operations and develop to advance technology without the help of IT specialists.

The UK upstart, Bloomsbury, is developing an AI system in which a computer can understand human speech so that humans can develop technology without directly touching a computer. AI can not only replace humans to perform basic tasks but AI is also proving to be a useful tool capable of new possibilities. 

AI development is much more than simply increasing the efficiency of devices to speed up the production process. AI is creating entirely new ways to conduct business operations and can become the foundation for improving the competitiveness of companies through implementation in each company’s operational system.

For example, SIEMENS is in the process of creating a ‘lights off factory’. SIEMENS aims to use AI and automation to create a factory where processes from receiving orders and supply chain management to production are completely automated. This type of innovative change will instantly have AI replacing humans in the workforce. However, a system of this type will require approximately 1,000 people for management and maintenance.

So, with the active introduction of AI, one company’s core competence and labor force can change and with these changes, they can implement a system that creates new opportunities. The time is now upon us when the ability use AI for creative innovations is becoming more important.

This is true for the IT industry as well. As AI is implemented in more diverse industries, it will be important for companies to use large amounts of collected data to create business opportunities. Also, while IT is implemented in more and more fields, new technology must continue to be implemented in order for companies to keep up with the rapid development of AI. There will also be an increased demand for people with ability to learn how to use this new technology.

Changes in Business, Collaborative Networks and Employee Education

Global IT companies are well known for free and open business culture. Companies such as Google and Facebook are particularly famous for this innovation. One trend that is common at these companies is the creation of collaborative networks that reach across an entire organization.

These networks make it possible to quickly manage disruptive and fluid changes in industrial environments. Large companies’ business methods are changing to resemble the ‘lean practice’ implemented at many startups. Technology is also advancing that transcends physical space and create cooperative environments where a diverse range of people can interact through virtual reality.

According to research, of all the factors that go into making a business successful, an innovative business structure is most important. As discussed before, the development of IT is expected to bring positive changes to business practices. Many companies are also expected to change their business structures with collaborative networks to facilitate future successful innovations.

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Businesses are also emphasizing the importance of creating knowledge based environments to promote employee education and the sharing of knowledge between employees. They are creating platforms for providing education via the internet to improve employee skill sets. Global firms such as Citi Group and Unilever are introducing processes for selecting people in different countries and providing education and instructions.

The method in which educational technology is implemented is also important. It is possible to more quickly and inexpensively commercialize ideas if team members can share project processes through the aforementioned collaborative technology and cloud computing. A company can produce optimal results if they can connect the team members, technology and freelancers for each project.

Reducing the 8 Hour Work Day

The development of collaborative networks makes it possible for small, specialized organizations to cooperate on projects. This change helps small companies and freelancers to expand their business.

In China, with a rapidly changing social system, these circumstances are very common. Young people in China are skeptical about the traditional method of employment. China is competing with the US as a haven for startups. Many Chinese people are using their own specialized technology to start companies or offering individual services to companies in order to gain more freedom.LG_CNS___미래_IT_노동_5

Technological development is also an important factor in changing how people work for themselves. Digital commerce is lowering boundaries that are a result of geographical location. Everyone is now able to trade their individual abilities on the global market. It is predicted that 43% of the US workforce will be freelancers by the year 2020.

With crowdsourcing platforms, the need for personal capital to manage a 1 person operation has almost disappeared and the opportunities to find work as a freelancer has increased. A general opinion has emerged that working as an individual freelancer is the new normal.

Coping with Technological Development

It seems that various IT developments will have a significant impact on work in the future. Changes will occur in the workforce and the methods with which companies operate will also change. Individuals will also continue to leave companies to work for themselves.

It is not easy to predict how these changes will take place. Experts also have differing views about the future but it is impossible for us to truly know what the future holds.

Sometimes people are apprehensive about technological advancement. But do we need to be afraid about the risks that may occur due to technological development? New technology creates new opportunities and new businesses. Innovative technologies such as smartphones are a driving force in the changes in our lives. If we cannot alter the flow of change, it is necessary that we embrace it.

Written by Daeun Lim, LG CNS Student Reporter

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