April 5, 2017
The rise of robots and automation in the workplace will lead to drastic changes to laws across the world, a new report suggests. The present wave of automation, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) – the development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence – is creating a gap between current legislation and new laws necessary for an emerging workplace reality, states a report published by the International Bar Association Global Employment Institute (IBA GEI). Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Their Impact on the Workplace focuses on potential future trends in AI, and the likely impact intelligent systems will have on the labour market, companies, employees’ working time, remuneration and the workplace environment.
April 3, 2017
One of the ideas we’re going to hear about a lot over the next few years is the Turing Test. It describes the point at which a machine’s behaviour becomes indistinguishable from a human’s, so that a typical person is unable to work out if he or she is interacting with a machine or an individual. This matters for lots of reasons; functional, philosophical and ethical. While it is the kicking off point for dramas such as Westworld (pictured) and Humans that explore our new relationship with machines, we’re most likely to encounter it at first with the automation of mundane things like customer service and information. Indeed, its creator Alan Turing first defined it as an issue of language and communication. Of course, somebody getting annoyed at an automated help desk won’t make drama as appealing as the idea of a robot theme park, but that’s life.
March 31, 2017
While talent continues to reign supreme on the list of top concerns for US companies a growing number of respondents to CBRE’s annual Americas Occupier Survey cited economic uncertainty as a top challenge, up from 36 percent in 2016 to 52 percent. As a result, 87 percent of corporate occupiers report that they are managing to this uncertainty by disposing of surplus space and/or implementing more efficient workplace designs to prepare their portfolios for the future. Only 26 percent of respondents expect to expand their portfolios over the next two years, down from 38 percent in the 2016 survey. Approximately one-half of the 2017 survey’s respondents indicated that the size of their portfolios would remain stable with 2016 levels. However, while uncertainty is driving many real estate decisions, creating a workplace experience focused on talent remains top of mind for the majority of occupiers surveyed.
March 30, 2017
Social technology can, and should, make the workplace more humane. That’s because it has the potential and ability to shift the power dynamic from the few to the many. It gives more people a voice: one that they’re not afraid to use. You’ve only got to look at the uprisings, and the overthrowing of governments, in Egypt and Tunisia, to see the power of greater connectivity enabled by platforms such as Facebook. What was dubbed the Arab Spring was change on a grand scale. But, as Seth Godin points out in his book Tribes, it’s “tribes, not money, not factories,” that will change the world. The consequences of this are not lost on the people and cultural practices within organisations. The functions of how we recruit, how we learn, and how we communicate are all under pressure to bring greater humanity into the approach.
March 28, 2017
Organisations need to strike a balance between capitalising on the benefits of automation and managing employee concerns, according to a study by Capita Resourcing. The research claims that whilst over half (54 percent) of UK organisations are already automating business processes once performed by people, employees are concerned about the social impact this will have on the workplace. The ‘Workplace More Human’ report claims that the majority of employees (67 percent) fear that the rise of robotics will make the workplace less sociable and friendly in the future. The biggest concerns around introducing more automation in the workplace were the loss of their job (36 percent), losing the social relationship with colleagues (27 percent) and having to reskill/train to do another job (23 percent).
March 27, 2017
The latest report to examine the disruptive potential of robots in the workplace has been published by PwC as part of the firm’s regular Economic Outlook series. The study claims that up to 30 percent of existing UK jobs will be susceptible to automation by robots and Artificial Intelligence by the early 2030s, although in many cases the nature of jobs will change rather than disappear and the change will increase productivity and wealth. This is lower than the US at 38 percent and Germany at 35 percent, but higher than Japan at 21 percent. The report looks in detail at the composition of jobs in different industry sectors and occupations, using machine learning techniques to model the potential impact of AI in the future based on OECD data. The likelihood of automation appears highest in sectors such as transport, manufacturing, and wholesale and retail, and lower in education, health and social work.
March 27, 2017
The Institution of Civil Engineers has published its State of the Nation 2017 report, looking at how advances in digital technology and data are transforming how infrastructure is designed, delivered and operated. The report claims that digital transformation is bringing benefits to clients and end users as well as unlocking economic growth and productivity across the UK. The report, based on interviews with 350 organisations and industry figures discusses the practical steps firms and government need to take to maintain momentum and truly harness the benefits.
March 24, 2017
A new guide for facilities management professionals working with clients on BIM construction projects has been issued by the BIFM (British Institute of Facilities Management). Employer’s Information Requirements is a practical 47-page document to support clients using BIM (Building Information Modelling) to advise clients on how to specify their exact requirements for the design and construction phase of a built asset through to its full life-time operation. The purpose of the EIR is to support both FM professionals and clients by providing a template which can be edited and amended by the client or facilities manager to meet individual requirements for the project. Its guidance follows the publication of BIFM’s Operational Readiness Guide For Facilities Managers published in April 2016. Since April 2016, construction projects commissioned by Central Government have been required to use BIM for their procurement and delivery.
March 23, 2017
The increasing ability of machines to perform cognitive, physical, and social tasks has polarised labour markets by “hollowing out” demand for middle-skill jobs, claims a new report published by IZA World of Labor based on research from economist Michael Gibbs of Chicago Booth School of Business. It suggests that analytical, problem solving, and social and communication skills are likely to be most valued in employees in the future. The new report finds that the advance of technology has opposing effects on jobs. It facilitates automation, creating fewer and less motivating middle-skill jobs. Conversely, it complements social and innovation tasks, creating more interesting low- and high-skill jobs. This causes labour market polarisation, “hollowing out” demand for middle-skill jobs, and increasing wage inequality.
March 22, 2017
The market for smart cities technology and related infrastructure used in the world’s most advanced urban areas could expand to $1.6 trillion by 2020, but major cities around the world are showing signs of fragility claims a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The study, 21st Century Cities: Global Smart Cities Primer Picks, claims that the market for smart city technology such as 5G telecoms networks, artificial intelligence, building automation, ‘cleantech’, cybersecurity, self-driving vehicles, the Internet of Things, sensors, surveillance and so on is already worth around $1 trillion. The report ranks Singapore (pictured), London, New York, Paris and Tokyo as the world’s smartest cities. Around 55 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities and account for around 85 percent of GDP.
March 22, 2017
HR leaders must take responsibility for bridging the gap between leadership and employees to help ensure organisations deal with the challenge of an increasingly digitised workplace and create a shared sense of direction, values and collaboration, a new piece of research suggests. According to the report, ‘Leadership Connections: HR’s role in business transformation’ from Ipsos LEAD and Cirrus, HR leaders are the crucial drivers of transformation in UK businesses through their roles of promoting devolved decision making, employee engagement and collaboration. Figures have shown that while half of CEOs expect their industries to be substantially or unrecognisably changed by digital, as of late 2016 10 percent of employees claim to have seen no significant change in their organisations at all – according to MORI’s Representative Employee Data (RED). This presents a significant difference between what we are being told by senior leadership and what employees believe to be the case.
March 21, 2017
Productivity and teamwork are both significantly improved when employees can choose where they work, a global survey of on global flexible working trends claims. The survey commissioned by Polycom, Inc. a global leader in enabling organisations new levels of teamwork, efficiency and productivity by unleashing the power of human collaboration. The survey of over 24,000 people found that 62 percent of the global working population now take advantage of flexible working practices. Nearly all respondents (98 percent) state that flexible working has a positive impact on productivity. Although many remain concerned that their absence from the office may have a negative effect on their careers, they are drawn to flexible working to increase their productivity, achieve a better work life balance and avoid the problem of commuting.