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The Singapore Engineer: Senior Director at Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work Says the Accelerated Pace of Digital is Creating Entirely New Ways of Working

“The dawn of true digital business is just breaking and Asia Pacific is poised to corner a bulk of the economic rewards of business transformation,” writes Manish Bahl. “For winning in an economy of algorithms, automation and AI, businesses and people will require new skills, new tools and rethinking of the human-machine relationship.” Excerpts:

“It would be pertinent to understand the changing nature of work, the changing nature of commerce, and the changing characteristics of success in this brave new world in 2017 and beyond.

The focus on human-centric skills will increase sharply. The work ahead will require us to double down on the activities where humans have — and will continue to have — an advantage over machines (for example, collaborative problem-solving, creativity, abstract thinking, adapting to change, and so on). It may sound counter-intuitive, but in a world of more pervasive technology, activities that humans do well will be even more important in 2020 than today. The work ahead will not be about “man versus machines”, but rather, about being better, smarter humans to harness the potential of the digital economy.

The gap between digital leaders and laggards will widen. With digital transformation sweeping through the global economy, businesses will see this gap continue to widen between organizations that are still waiting for digital technologies to prove themselves and organizations that have been quick to master key digital capabilities. Digital is moving from toys of convenience to powerful tools applied to work that really matters. Your work ahead is to apply this new crop of smarter technologies to remake your business activities — from sales and marketing to production and supply chain management.

The Internet of things (IoT) will lead to “the vulnerability of things.” IoT is evolving when it comes to standardization, and if not implemented properly, could present data privacy and security risks. More connected devices mean exponential growth in the amount of personal and sensitive data generated. A single security breach on one device could infect an entire network, considering that multiple devices are interconnected on a home or business network. This will make consumer trust more important than ever and, perhaps, even harder to achieve. A survey revealed that Asia Pacific respondents are significantly behind their global counterparts in prioritizing cybersecurity for their business, indicating that they are not quite there yet when it comes to threats that may result from large-scale IoT deployments.

Fact, not fiction – AI will come to reality and become a real business. We’re already surrounded by AI and its impact on work, which will be explosive before the decade is out. The unevenly distributed future is spreading into a much more evenly distributed present. Over the next few years, every aspect of our commercial world (and much else besides) will be affected by the new machines. In short, the future of work is the mirror image of the future of AI. If you’re not making AI your business today, AI may well put you out of business tomorrow. AI will continue to transform our work as we know it and will become the number one driver of business change by 2020.

In order to capitalize on the changes around, businesses require more than simply the application of the latest and greatest technology. The accelerated pace of digital is creating entirely new ways of working, created by the new tools.”

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