Technological intelligence key to success with AI assistant workforce

The organisational chart of the future will include AI advisors and cognitive assistants and our ability to work with them will unlock significant positive benefits for the Australian Public Service.

I recently spoke at the Australian Information Industry Association’s (AIIA) Navigating Technology and Jobs of the Future Summit, participating in a panel discussion with Gavin Slater, CEO of the Digital Transformation Agency, and Dr Claire Mason, a senior social scientist from CSIRO’s Data61 on  ‘augmenting the human factor: the role of technology’.

It is blatantly clear from our work across both federal and state government that public sector organisations that are open to incorporating automated and cognitive assistants and AI advisors are seeing positive workforce change and organisational benefits.

The success or failure of an AI augmented workforce is, in part, the responsibility of people currently within the workforce tasked with training, coaching and performance managing AI assistants. We call this TQ, or technological intelligence, and our TQ will determine the speed and scale of positive impacts achieved through the transition.

Implemented in a constructive and positive manner, the majority of low-level cognitive work can be shifted to AI assistants, allowing the redeployment of human workers to critical tasks and functions that they normally don’t have time for.

In order to accelerate benefit realisation, you need fully informed and educated decisions from senior leaders, who understand the capability of AI assistants and determine what work they will undertake, together with a structured ‘low risk’ implementation plan that articulates the timing, scale and impact of their introduction.

Questions raised by Summit attendees during the panel session highlighted employee reticence around AI augmentation of their roles, as well as whether the future workforce is equipped to interact with AI assistants.

This is the conversation we should be having.

Q – Are students ready for workforce of the future?

In the future, graduates will start their careers with AI assistants from day one and those assistants will accompany them as they progress throughout their career. The real question is, are educational systems preparing graduates with those future ready skills. For example, are graduates able to coach, train and performance manage an AI assistant?

Q. Is AI promoting or stifling creativity?

The ability of AI assistants to aggregate and interrogate data is astounding, whether by touch, text or voice, and the time saved frees up teams to be more creative and interrogative, enabling them to test and fail fast.

Q. Should there be new metrics for connectivity, creativity, inclusivity, etc?

There is no need for every employee to be uber creative. But there absolutely should be more recognition by public service organisations of innovation and creativity in the future.

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