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Why Your New Assistant Feels a Bit More Robotic

While many question how much impact a rtificial intelligence will have on the workforce in the near future, a recent survey from McKinsey & Company found that automation will eliminate only 5% of jobs completely. Rather, AI presents strong potential to create new types of jobs while eliminating inefficiencies, enabling data-driven decision making, and increasing productivity across the board.

Here are three ways we'll see this unfold.

Streamline Administrative Tasks

The potential business gains of implementing AI can be huge, especially when it comes to automating time-consuming tasks. AI-fueled automation can help streamline tedious and time-intensive administrative responsibilities such as checking availabilities for team meetings, sending calendar invites, and so on. Such automation will free up employees to focus on tasks that require human reason or interaction. This can lead to augmented workflows and more personalized decision support.

Further, we'll see AI-powered tools learn preferences and behaviors, and subsequently bend toward individual workflows, allowing employees to pick and choose the right tool to meet their needs. The little decisions -- organizing calendars, tracking to-do lists, scheduling meetings -- support our best work, and allow us to derive true value from the intersection of AI and enterprise communications.

Foster Creativity and Advanced Skillsets

When administrative and back-end processes are automated, employees will have more time to think creatively and thoughtfully execute tasks so they can have a greater impact on the direction of the organization. In the sales function, particularly, AI can begin learning the behaviors of salespeople and automatically adjust to complete mundane tasks like tracking calls, initiating follow-ups, and creating to-do lists. With these tasks out of the way, they'll have more time for meaningful conversations with prospects and, in turn, increase sales. For general knowledge workers, AI can cater to a specific function of their days -- sorting emails, scheduling meetings, and so on.

Further, a recent Fast Company article on the top workplace conversations of 2018 suggests that as more people shift to AI-supported work, the need for more skilled labor to develop and maintain AI-powered tools will simultaneously increase. The piece notes research from job tool provider Paysa showing that in the past six months alone, U.S. companies across all industries have invested $1.35 billion in AI talent. We've seen this type of workforce shift many times before, such as during the dot-com boom from 1990 to 2000. As the technology we use everyday changes, so will desired skillsets.

Enable Workflow Personalization with Virtual Assistants

According to Gartner, by 2020 "the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse." This increasing preference to communicate with virtual assistance is already making its way into the workplace.

Amazon recently announced an enterprise-friendly version of its popular in-home assistant, Alexa. With voice being the oldest form of communication, we see voice-activated AI being able to break down various barriers across work environments globally. Further, in 2018, we'll see a huge increase in demand for personalized assistants that fit individual's needs. Every employee is different and therefore needs different support. People like to make their own choices and get attached to their workflows so it's important to give them customizable options and help them realize the true value AI can add to an organization.

It's clear AI has the potential to revolutionize the way people work. While it's already gaining traction in enterprises across the globe, in 2018, we see it actually beginning to show true ROI with more widespread adoption. It's an exciting time as organizations will increasingly give their workforce choices and the ability to personalize the tools they use to ultimately improve productivity across the board.