AI common in the workplace by 2025, says Gartner

From digital assistants to management tools, we’ll be working with a lot more AI in the next few years.
16 September 2019

Smart assistants could become common AI presences in the office. Source: Shutterstock

Artificial intelligence (AI) will become “mainstream” enterprise technology by 2025, according to Gartner analysts at its Digital Workplace Summit in London. 

As reported by ComputerWorld, AI programs will become commonplace in our offices, as investments in digital transformation continue, and applications of the technology continue to permeate business operations.

In particular, digital voice assistants which have been well-received among consumers could serve as ‘receptionists’ in the office environment, booking meeting rooms, or on-boarding new recruits, for example. 

In fact, Gartner expects 25 percent of digital workers to be using AI voice assistants within the next two years, and reportedly urged businesses to begin developing skills in their deployment, management, and security.

However, Gartner’s expectations for AI in business went beyond smart speakers. According to the publication, Gartner Vice President, Matthew Cain, predicted “robo-bosses” will be commonplace in 2025. 

While this wouldn’t mean we’d be reporting directly to machines, they would comprise tools that support managers in orchestrating operations and overseeing some of the more admin-heavy, repetitive tasks.

“Let’s think about what managers do every day: they set schedules, assign work, do performance reviews, offer career guidance, help you access training, they do approvals, they cascade information and they enforce directives,” Cain said. “We can have AI doing a lot of that.” 

“Your manager won’t be replaced by an algorithm, but your manager will be using a lot of AI constructs to help improve and to make more efficient a lot of the routine work that they do. We think that that is going to be the combination.” 

TechHQ recently explored how “AI-powered efficiencies” could be just as significant in management as its supposed take-over lower down the pile, where more ‘menial’ work takes place. 

“AI can quickly crunch the numbers of voluminous and varied datasets. It can evaluate performances, reallocate resources, and even automatically generate the paperwork for terminations. That is a pretty compelling use case [for management],” wrote David Pring-Mill

While concerns abound about AI’s potential to take jobs from the masses, though, it is much more likely to provide a ‘subtle boost’ to new ways of working. 

Given that we are already using elements of machine learning within tools in daily use, such as Gmail’s auto-complete function, the effect of more advanced AI technology steadily entering our workplaces won’t be all that noticeable. 

“There is quite a bit of industry debate about whether or not AI destroys jobs or creates,” said Cain. 

“The Gartner opinion is that it creates more jobs than it eliminates, simply because we believe that AI creates vast efficiencies within the enterprise, which creates the space for business expansion, and business expansion allows more hires.

“AI will come in and start to do a lot of our routine work. It allows us to focus on more of the people-oriented, the most creative aspects of those elements. So it is more [about] your job continuously changing than being eliminated.”