Friday, March 23, 2018
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
There was an Australian Senate Inquiry on what we are doing as a nation to secure our jobs - as we face massive disruption from automation , ai , machines and Business Process Outsourcing.
Labor's Ed Husic said 3.5 million workers are under threat of having their jobs disrupted by technology.
The banking sector is in the running for massive disruption and Paul Smith from the AFR (fin review ) spoke to the CEOs of ANZ, Westpac and NAB to see what they were doing to prepare!
Banks are already using robot technology on a large scale in its processing centres and this trend will continue.
The banks need to plan for this change effectively, onboard skilled personnel (or upskill existing) and communicate with their employees, what this means and better explain how this benefits our customers.
NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn announced its plans for the first 1000 of 6000 jobs it will make redundant over three years, and at the same time as it is looking to bolster its workforce with 2000 technology specialists. These Specialists will probably need to be “imported in” - not sure what will happen to the 1000!
Thorburn said that NAB needs to ensure that they have the right people with the right skills and capabilities as the world continues to change. “We are committed to up-skilling people where it suits their aspirations and business needs, but there are limits," he said
Westpac’s CIO Dave Curran warned that
workers aged over 35 risked being left in the blocks by the wave of automation and new technologies, unless management philosophy in large organisations adjusts to adapt to the changing world. We recognise that the bank has a responsibility to work with its staff to ensure they enhanced their employability.
They need to be upskilled in jobs that are not repetitive and done by machines in a fraction of the time!
Westpac’s CEO Brian Hartzer said they were doing this in a number of ways, including partnering with industry experts and tertiary institutions to design development programs to deliver recognisable credentials to employees.
"Automation and AI have well and truly arrived and there's no point pretending that technology isn't going to affect jobs, but it can be a net positive for the economy if we embrace it," Mr Hartzer said.
"We need to re-skill people and grow new jobs off the back of what technology can do so people can find new jobs." Said ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott. “Automation is not new to banking - the introduction of automatic teller machines is a case in point, where the industry embraced a more efficient way of operating, and now the rapid adoption of mobile banking as a more recent example of how institutions need to recalibrate to match customer demand.
To say nothing of blockchain and Fintech!
Here’s the real question - will banks survive in its current form?
Saturday, March 17, 2018
By sixteen she is at your level and everything looks pretty good. However, by the age of thirty-two, her memory and knowledge would be approximately one thousand time yours and she would also think one thousand times faster.
What does it mean and what would the impact be on you and society?
The rise of intelligent machines
It is difficult to grasp fully the speed, depth, and overall impact of the digital and fourth industrial revolutions with, as a major component, the rise of intelligent machines.
The challenges and opportunities are unprecedented, and organisations and employee lives are at the frontline. How to start thinking about speed of change and impact on management and people in this emerging future (futuristic?) environment?
Exponential growth – what if your daughter were 1000 times more intelligent than you?
We are all familiar with the words: intelligent machines, robotics, global connectivity, sensors everywhere, virtual reality, augmented reality.
We are also familiar with the early applications of these technologies: personal agents, analytics, robots, autonomous vehicles to name but a few.
We can also read in the press the impact of these technologies on jobs and organisations. What is more difficult to grasp is what the future has in store in the medium to long term. A simple extrapolation won’t do.
The reason is that the human mind tends to extrapolate linearly (see references); it has difficulty with a fundamental aspect of all these technologies: exponential growth. In a sense we are used to it, with Moore’s law being well known.
Moore’s law is used to describe the doubling of transistors on a computer chip every eighteen months and the growth in bandwidth of communication networks.
Computing power, memory and connectivity are increasing exponentially and their cost is also reducing exponentially. Up until recently, the benefits could be described as benign from a human perspective; that is, mostly beneficial with few apparent disadvantages.
Who would object to cheaper laptops, cheaper smart phones, cheaper phone plans, video streaming, etc. Exponential growth seems to bring convenience and material advantages that are easy to grasp.
It is a different matter when we start to think of intelligence. Let’s take a child, your child perhaps. Let’s imagine that she is growing in intelligence in front of your eyes. Initially, as you would expect the child will grow and it is rewarding, and you’re pleased. But then, as she reaches her teenage years her intellectual capacity keeps doubling every eighteen months, in speed of thinking, breadth and depth of knowledge, and sophistication of analysis. By sixteen, say, she is at your level. By the age of thirty-two, her memory and knowledge would be approximately one thousand time yours and she would also think one thousand times faster.
What does it mean and what would the impact be on you and society? And what if all children were to become like your daughter? We think it is safe to say that we have no idea about the implication on us and our society. You might say that artificial intelligence is not like human intelligence or that it may not grow quite as fast. True, but it does not change the outcome, we still have no idea. We have trouble understanding exponential growth and its implications.
What we can say, is that we are entering the age of turbulence. This means that unpredictable, rapid change in and from multiple directions will challenge us at every turn.
These changes will produce huge waves that will collide and create massive upheavals. There will be disruptions, in technology, the economy and society. Change will happen to us and we will have to transform and adapt. There are great opportunities but there are also great risks. We are entering the ‘age of disruptions’.
Impact on management thinking
Most of our current management thinking was developed in pre-Internet time, and most definitely pre-AI. Let’s call this ‘legacy management’. The question is: what type of management will be needed to cope with the ‘age of disruptions’? What will be the role of the individual, the team, the organisation, the business leaders and society? We will endeavour to address these questions in future blogs.
We’ll do it in two ways: by taking a high-level view and also by considering practical aspects and solutions that could be applied now. We want to enlarge thinking if we can but we also want to be and stay relevant and practical today. Stay tuned!
Thursday, March 15, 2018
LATELINE BY MARGOT O'NEILL
What does the worldwide head of research at Google tell his kids about how to prepare for the future of work with artificial intelligence?
"I tell them … wherever they will be working in 20 years probably doesn't exist now," Peter Norvig says. "No sense training for it today."
Be flexible, he says, "and have an ability to learn new things".
Future of work experts (yes, it's a thing now) and AI scientists who spoke to Lateline variously described a future in which there were fewer full-time, traditional jobs requiring one skill set; fewer routine administrative tasks; fewer repetitive manual tasks; and more jobs working for and with "thinking" machines.
From chief executives to cleaners, "everyone will do their job differently working with machines over the next 20 years," Andrew Charlton, economist and director of AlphaBeta, says.
But experts are split on whether this technological transformation will create more jobs than it destroys, which has been the case historically.
"Copying [AI computer] code takes almost no time and cost. Anyone who says they know that more jobs will be created than destroyed is fooling themselves and fooling us. Nobody knows that," says University of New South Wales professor of AI Toby Walsh.
"The one thing we do know is the jobs that will be created will require different skills than the jobs that will be destroyed. And it will require us to constantly be educating ourselves to keep ahead of the machines."
Should we all learn to code?
Yes, says Hamilton Calder, acting chief executive of the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA). "Coding will need to be ubiquitous within the workforce and taught at all levels of the education system."
No, says Mr Charlton. "I think the big misconception here is that in order to be successful in the future economy you need to be competing with machines [and] become a coder, a software engineer. That's quite wrong."
Not everyone needs to code because ultimately AI programs will likely be better coders than humans, says Professor Walsh. But "if you're a geek like myself, there is a good future in inventing the future".
A "broad, basic education with a strong STEM focus (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) will provide the core skills and flexibility that people will need," says PWC chief economist Jeremy Thorpe, "given they will likely change jobs or careers much more than previously".
Say goodbye to that 'dream' job
Seventeen jobs and five careers — it is exhausting just thinking about it. But that is the prediction for school-leavers, according to research done for the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA).
"We should stop encouraging young people to think about a 'dream' job," Jan Owen, CEO of FYA, says.
"It's important not to focus on individual jobs … rather they should aim to develop a skill set that is transferrable [including] financial and digital literacy, collaboration, project management and the ability to critically asses and analyse information."
Say hello to your robot partner
Future work will fall into one of three categories, says Robert Hillard, managing partner, Deloitte Consulting.
"Firstly, people who work for machines such as drivers, online store pickers and some health professionals who are working to a schedule," Mr Hillard says.
"Secondly, people who work with machines such as surgeons using machines to help with diagnosis, and thirdly, people who work on the machines, such as programmers and designers."
Human-machine teams will combine the lightning-fast speed and accuracy of AI algorithms with instinctive human skills such as intuition, judgment and emotional intelligence, according to a report by the US based Institute for the Future.
Mr Hillard says AI's ability "is to answer a unique question by synthesizing the answers to thousands or millions of related but different questions".
"What AI can't do is design new questions and that's the skill that will make people most competitive: helping their customer or employer find the right question to ask."
While he expects the number of jobs to increase, the danger is they may not be better jobs. Those working for machines will experience the most disruption.
Being human is now a skill
There is one skill we already have that can increasingly be leveraged for income: being human.
"We don't make computers that have a lot of emotional intelligence," Professor Walsh says. "[But] we like interacting with people.
"We are social people, so the jobs that require lots of emotional intelligence — being a nurse, marketing jobs, being a psychologist, any job that involves interacting with people — those will be the safe jobs. We want to interact with people, not robots."
Futurist Ross Dawson gives an example of how this could be turned into a new kind of job.
"Perhaps it is a productive role in society to interact, to have conversations [with other people] and then we can remunerate that and make it a part of people's lives," he says.
Mr Charlton says: "Most of the opportunities are to do things that machines can't do, things that humans do well in the caring economy — to be empathetic, to work in a range of occupations which require interpersonal skills."
China's most successful tech venture capitalist and former Google and Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee recently wrote in The New York Times that traditionally unpaid volunteering roles could become future "service jobs of love".
"Examples include accompanying an older person to visit a doctor, mentoring at an orphanage, serving as a sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous — or, potentially soon, Virtual Reality Anonymous."
Jobs growth is already strong in the caring economy with unmet demand in child care, aged care, health care and education — although many of those jobs are poorly paid.
"The challenge is to recognize that those jobs should be paid well. It's a choice for us as a society, community and government to value those types of human jobs well," Mr Charlton says.
Find your inner artist
Computers are not imaginative or very creative.
"We have one of the most creative brains out there," Professor Walsh says.
So, ironically, "one of the oldest jobs on the planet, being a carpenter or an artisan, we will value most because we will like to see an object carved or touched by the human hand, not a machine".
But humans have always created imaginative new economic opportunities as well.
Find out for yourself
With current education and training currently struggling to meet some of the challenges for the future workforce, Mr Dawson says we should "plan for [ourselves], look at the change and create a path and see what skills need to be developed".
"This is about organisational, social and personal responsibility. For all ages and people, we can learn and develop ourselves."
UTS professor of social robotics Mary-Anne Williams says there is only one strategy.
"Embrace the technology and understand as far as possible what kind of impact it has on your job and goals," she says.
"You need to pay attention and look around and think about the impact."
In the report, they found that cost was the top reason for not being able to acquire STEM skills or soft skills -- the two sets of skills currently considered safest from automation.
For many, that will mean more training, being open to doing different kinds of work, and adapting before change comes in order to not be swept aside by it.