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AI in the Enterprise: Will AI Compete with or Complement Workers?

By Dick Weisinger

AI software has spread to the enterprise. Almost 90 percent of large businesses are using some kind of AI in production, according to an O’Reilly survey. But while adoption is widespread, it is pretty shallow.

O’Reilly identifies Research and Development, IT and Customer Service as the top three areas where AI is being used by enterprises. There are barriers that are preventing AI from being adopted more broadly.

One big challenge is lack of training and having people with the right skill sets to work with AI. But an even bigger challenge may be cultural push back and lack of support. There is worry about AI replacing existing jobs. But that resistance may be overblown.

A study by McKinsey suggests the worry about job loss may be misplaced. Companies that are more ‘digitized’ tended to see little effect of AI adoption and headcount. In fact, many of those companies expect that increased of AI will actually result in increased head count.

McKinsey’s report found that “AI’s biggest effect on the workforce could be changes in the work that people do, particularly ever-greater collaboration between machines and people, rather than overall workforce reductions.”

Harvard Business Review agrees, saying that “never before have digital tools been so responsive to us, nor we to our tools. While AI will radically alter how work gets done and who does it, the technology’s larger impact will be in complementing and augmenting human capabilities, not replacing them.”

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