January 29, 2023

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Elon Musk’s Optimus robot waving its mechanical arms in the air will likely feature prominently in any 2022 collection. Musk boldly claimed that we could see a “fundamental transformation of civilization” with such advances in robotics. While his vision may take years to unfold, we are now at a point where we will see rapid deployment and advancement of artificial intelligence. The future is waving hello and 2023 promises to be exciting in terms of AI.

A time of change and generational change in artificial intelligence

Despite record levels of low unemployment, companies continue to find it challenging to find employees, especially those with the right skills. Necessity is the mother of invention and we are in an age of AI necessity. The current labor shortage, inflationary and recessionary pressures combined with rising interest rates will force companies to be creative with labor procurement.

AI-driven automation will drive much of this change, and the winners in specific niches may be determined by how well and quickly the companies can leverage automation. This is especially true for industries such as accounting, banking, lending, data processing, technical development or customer service, where adoption of automation is already underway.

Faster adoption rates are likely as companies respond to market pressures. We should expect those companies aiming for AI adoption completion dates in 2024-2025 to take it to the next level.

Although it is not possible to anticipate all the consequences, it is more than likely that companies will lay off some employees, especially in positions where automation proves to be a better fit than expected. On the other hand, companies will also be able to handle growth at a faster but more sustainable pace, especially if they are in an industry that is growing. Performance-driven companies will see better results and higher profitability if they act quickly and remain strategic about AI adoption.

Related: 3 Ways to Drive Business Growth Using AI

1. A host of necessity-based AI innovations will spawn new unicorns

Think about it this way: we can now fearlessly open Pandora’s box of societal and industrial problems and challenges because we also hold the technological key to solving them. In the future, we will see a continuous and rapid emergence of new ideas to solve persistent challenges. People may have thought about these solutions for a long time, but it was beyond our technical capacity to realize them. With automation, those ideas can now become reality.

We are also going through an economic shift and fundamental changes in the way we approach work. Suddenly, customers’ minds are wide open, looking for solutions. This happy alignment of causalities allows for leaps in the formulation of ideas that only occur once in a generation, especially when supported by the approaching highly accelerated adoption of AI.

For example, a metavers company in China is currently experimenting with an AI-powered virtual humanoid robot as CEO. As bizarre as it may sound, we will see more and more bold innovations happen as the adoption of AI increases. The next blessing from unicorns will come from solving some of our most intractable problems. Not only will automation help businesses stay on budget and meet their growth targets in a tighter market environment, it will impact every facet of life as we know it.

Related: The Complete Guide to AI for Business and How It Makes a Difference

2. AI will be the spice in the new flavor of a globalized workforce

In the wake of the Great Resignation and silent quitting, it is abundantly clear that our relationship with the workplace has fundamentally changed. Flexibility and work-life balance are key to retaining talent. AI-powered automation will play a key role in enabling companies to provide employees with greater flexibility and enable them to work from anywhere.

Our organization has developed an AI-powered collaboration platform called Teletype that allows us to supplement our full-time workforce with part-time employees from anywhere in the world. More and more AI-powered work and collaboration platforms like Upwork and Taskrabbit will come to the forefront as they bridge the gap between traditional work and a globalized workforce of the future that can work anywhere.

Related: This is what AI will never be able to do

3. AI and hyperscale automation will hit us in waves

We are already witnessing strong adoption of automation for repetitive tasks performed by software robots. We may be some time away from scalable hardware robots or consistent automation that allows organizations to manage all aspects of production from hyperscale data centers. But we will likely see an increase in automation that extends or improves people’s ability to work. We could even see an increase in personal robot assistants to perform repetitive tasks that can be largely automated, enabling people to work smarter and faster. This will be especially true in back-office environments where repetitive tasks consume many valuable human hours.

As we become more sophisticated with AI tools, the percentage and nature of automation in all work processes will increase significantly. There are few aspects of life that remain untouched by AI, and the changes will soon hit us in waves. The tricky question for organizations will be deciding which wave to surf.

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