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How do workers feel about the new era of robots, set to reshape entire economies? This question hardly features in the debate about automation and artificial intelligence.
And that matters because, here and now, some companies are already introducing artificial intelligence and other innovations, and wrestling with the early challenges they pose to management. According to research by Accenture Strategyworkers welcome digital technologies. Five times as many think digital will improve their job prospects as those who say it will worsen them.
And those who believe digital will improve their working experience outnumber the pessimists by 10 to one. Should such enthusiasm surprise us?
Our measure of the digital economy indicates That is to say, there is already a large proportion of employment in which digital skills play a part and that can support digital business activities of one kind or another. Clearly, many of these skills are not yet sophisticated enough to exploit the full potential of digital disruption. But there is a broad foundation of skills that are relevant to emerging digital business models.
The rapid rise of the millennial generation — there are in excess of million in Indiaaccording to the United Nations — will likely reinforce this foundation and drive even greater openness to the emerging world of robots and artificial intelligence. Already, new intelligent systems are bringing not just greater productivity but greater precision to agriculture, thanks to sensors, drones and other technologies. The finance sector is using robo-analysts to provide financial advice to banking clients.
And smart glasses are helping field workers to access data and instructions as they repair equipment. These innovations are not making super-humans. They are making humans super. Artificial intelligence augments the work they do and helps them do it better. In India, professional employees exude enthusiasm and optimism for a digital future.
When asked, Indian professional workers pointed to greater efficiency as the main benefits of digital technologies in the workplace. But greater mental and creative work and the opportunity to learn more also rank highly. Despite the enthusiasm, employees the world over are cautious about the march of robots and artificial intelligence. Just over a third of the workers polled globally are worried that robots and software will take over their jobs.
Indian workers are also more worried than workers elsewhere that employers can track their every move. India's growth is outpacing China's Bythis country will robot makers in india the largest population More from the India blogs series. Meanwhile, business leaders in India are ambitiously transforming their businesses into digital enterprises. In many countries, especially in mature economies, businesses intend to follow rather than lead, perhaps because digital throws up many uncertainties for traditional sectors who have much to lose and, therefore, much to learn.
Indian enterprises may have less to lose and more to go for. Accenture spoke to Indian C-suite decision-makers in a broad range of industry sectors. Almost three-quarters represented companies with revenues of more than a billion US dolllars.
Two and half times the number of business leaders in India in robot makers in india to those in Germany want their companies to be digital leaders as opposed to fast followers. There may be a degree of complacency about the robot makers in india of companies to transform their businesses into digital enterprises. Two-thirds of local companies say they already have a digital strategy for talent and skills. But evidence throughout the rest of the world demonstrates that, when push comes to shove, there are difficulties among middle managers - those who have to implement changes to the digital workforce.
Among the tasks that managers devote most time to today, many are prime candidates for a degree of automation: That could be providing more bespoke services to customers or more personal support to staff. And managers will be liberated to focus more on creativity and innovation. Yet a majority of managers we spoke to around the world are uncertain whether they have the robot makers in india to succeed in their role over the next five years.
Many are concerned about the robot makers in india of artificial intelligence on their jobs. Part of their resistance boils down to trust. When asked if they would trust the advice of intelligent systems in making business decisions, barely robot makers in india than a 10th strongly agree, putting them out of kilter with robot makers in india more positive executive-level managers.
This calls for robot makers in india more proactive effort to unite managers and machines. Not only do we need to accelerate the introduction of new intelligent systems, robot makers in india need to encourage experimentation to mould those systems into the fabric of evolving processes and teams. This approach will show that digital is not something that happens to the workforce but something the workforce makes happen in their organization.
The other critical step forward is to shift the expectations for management skills demanded in the future. Managers often misunderstand the full spectrum of skills needed, assuming the greatest impact will be robot makers in india the IT workforce or that digital skills will be the most important. In fact, the most critical skills required as AI and robots make their presence felt will be people development, robot makers in india, collaboration and creative skills.
Above all, stronger interpersonal skills will be paramount if managers are to have the confidence to inspire a more fluid, less structured workforce and to manage the introduction of new technologies in the first place. These hard-to-come-by skills will be needed so that managers can support their teams as they learn to work with robots and as robots learn to work with them.
While India is open and receptive to digital transformation, it may require a more nuanced and advanced approach to developing the core managerial skills to succeed.
But are their managers? Coaching and creative skills will be key for managers in the digital age. Is this the solution to the wealth gap between generations? More on the agenda. Explore the latest strategic trends, research and analysis. This article is part of the India Economic Summit. Workforce and Employment View all.