The future is something intriguing. Since the dawn of humanity we have tried to predict what will come next, this is a fact. Whether observing the movements of the stars, or perhaps consulting a “prophet”, see Nostradamus, society has always been concerned with what it does not know and cannot control. But what does this have to do with artificial intelligence and work automation processes? Why, everything!
When we witnessed the first great industrial revolution, with all those technological advances and the replacement of workers by machines, people were already asking themselves “what now? Is this the fate of humanity?”, a question, by the way, that continues to this day. For the not-so-technology lovers, news: yes, that is humanity’s destiny, and it will be more and more.
In fact, robots will replace humans in many jobs and tasks. And here I’m being a bit of a generalist, but you can call it Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning, or any software that was developed to learn from observations based on data. Increasingly, companies and factories deploy these technologies, powered by intelligent algorithms and that “work” side by side with people. One of the biggest Artificial Intelligence references in the world, Andrew Ng, predicts that AI advancement has the potential to add more than $10 trillion to the economy global by 2030.
What a lot of people don’t see is that it’s not necessarily something negative or something to be afraid of. Automation made with artificial intelligence solves more recurrent problems, mainly, and this gives people the opportunity to focus on more strategic activities, or on studies and specializations, fostering an environment conducive to the generation of inspiring and creative ideas, as well as development disruptive and innovative business models.
There are many works that technology cannot replace, we need to go in the intrinsic sense of this: humans think, evolve, have the ability to interpret situations with a view that a machine does not have, manage to relate and solve problems with a more empathetic perspective. That doesn’t mean we don’t have limitations. The importance of the professional keeping up to date and in constant learning will be increasing. According to the World Economic Forum, the Top 10 Skills on Demand in 2020 they included complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, and cognitive flexibility.
And, looking at the national scene, although there is still some “shyness” in relation to the topic, it is essential that we look at this technology more closely. In April of this year we had the disclosure of the Brazilian AI Strategy, and this is where I want to go: a well-applied Artificial Intelligence strategy, with ethics and legal obligations is something very positive for companies and their employees, and the fact that this idea is raised by public bodies is something promising.
A study by the American consultancy FrontierView pointed out that if Brazil maximizes the adoption of artificial intelligence by 2030, the Brazilian GDP could grow up to 4.2 percentage points.
Resigning work is something recurrent for society, and when we move towards operations that increasingly use artificial intelligence, it is important to understand and think about what it actually is: an ally. It is common to only look at the challenges a situation presents and not look at the opportunities; in many cases, humans and machines will work together, helping each other and improving processes that previously required a lot of effort.
A good example of this is the case of Amazon, which employed more than 100,000 robots and hired more than 80,000 humans in its operation. In this case, people pick up and pack the goods, while robots move orders through the warehouses, making workers more efficient by reducing physical wear and tear.
And how can we position society about this reality? Well, the best way for humans to be more human is to understand that artificial intelligence is actually a great partner and can be used in many situations to simplify our daily lives.
*Anderson Paulucci is CDO of SysMap Solutions. Responsible for developing Machine Learning, Data Science and Analysis, Big Data Analytics, Data Strategy, Data Engineering and Data Governance solutions. In addition, he is a university professor in the MBA courses at FIAP and USP/Esalq focused on technology.