As Artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies make headway into the workplace, a lot of mundane, repetitive tasks will be taken over by virtual personal assistants and chatbots making room for individuals to focus more on creative and cognitive tasks.
By 2024, Gartner, Inc. predicts that these technologies will replace almost 69 per cent of the manager's routine workload.
Automation will not impact all categories of managers equally, says Jayant Krishna, Executive Director, Public Policy at Wadhwani Foundation and former ED & COO of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). "It will be more for managers in operational and supervisory roles. But, managerial jobs, which require critical thinking, intuitive decision-making or innovation and creativity will not be at risk. While technology can help in coming to decision, these domain areas will remain with people in the foreseeable future," says Krishna.
"The role of manager will see a complete overhaul over the next four years," said Helen Poitevin, research vice-president at Gartner. "Currently, managers often need to spend time filling in forms, updating information and approving workflows. By using AI to automate these tasks, they can spend less time managing transactions and can invest more time on learning, performance management and goal-setting."
AI and emerging technologies will change the role of the manager and will allow employees to extend their degree of responsibility and influence, without taking on management tasks, says the report.
Application leaders focussed on innovation and AI are now accountable for improving worker experience, developing worker skills and building organisational competency in responsible use of AI. "Application leaders will need to support a gradual transition to increased automation of management tasks as this functionality becomes increasingly available across more enterprise applications," said Poitevin. For instance, within the HR domain, several processes on query resolution, and leave application have been taken over by chatbots. Recruiters are also using AI to parse through candidates' profiles and shortlist the top matches for the job.
This also means less people will be required to do more work. This might spell disaster for a country like India that is already reeling under its highest level of unemployment. Most of the new investments are in industries that are capital intensive rather than manpower intensive.
The government needs to go deeper into sectors such as apparel, footwear including leather industry and promote these industries, says Krishna. This is very critical to India because even in the most developed countries, these sectors haven't been automated much and the manpower intensive nature of textile and footwear industry continues, he suggests.