How artificial intelligence is redefining the role of manager.


Byline: Dan Schawbel

Artificial intelligence (AI) will impact every job, in every industry and every country. There are significant fears that AI will eliminate jobs altogether. Many reports have exposed the harsh realities of workforce automation, especially for certain types of jobs and demographics. For instance, the Brookings Institution found that automation threatens 25% of all US jobs, with an emphasis on low-wage earners in positions where tasks are routine-based. A separate study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that women comprise 58% of jobs at highest risk of automation.

Yet despite these realities, we are beginning to accept our new AI world and adopt these technologies as we see the potential new opportunities. Other studies emphasize how AI will create more jobs or just remove tasks within jobs. A new global study by Oracle and Future Workplace of 8,370 employees, managers and HR leaders across 10 countries, found that almost two-thirds of workers are optimistic, excited and grateful about AI and robot co-workers. Nearly one-quarter went as far as saying they have a loving and gratifying relationship with AI at work, showing an appreciation for how it simplifies and streamlines their lives.

Proportion of respondents who believe robots will one day replace their managers

Surprisingly, last year, we discovered that the majority of workers would trust orders from a robot. This year, almost two-thirds of workers said they would trust orders from a robot over their manager, and half have already turned to a robot instead of their manager for advice. At American Express, decisions like figuring out what product offer is most relevant to different customer segments are now handled by AI, eliminating the need for managers and employees to discuss these tasks.

Now that AI is removing many of the administrative tasks typically handled by managers, their roles are evolving to focus more on soft over hard skills. The survey found that workers believe robots are better than their managers at providing unbiased information, maintaining work schedules, problem-solving and budget management, while managers are better at...

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