- Human-machine collaboration is the new hybrid workforce
- Real-time response is increasingly a business must-have
ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) in Malaysia is progressing by huge strides. The recent announcement of the first AI fund in Malaysia by Kenanga Investors, as well as Al Rajhi Bank’s initiative to use AI to boost their anti-money laundering (AML) efforts, as just some examples of the immediate benefits that AI already has in the business world.
Yet, the notion of an impending age of automation and AI is evoking mixed reactions. On the one hand, there is excitement around the opportunity it presents to radically lower the cost of operations and boost the speed of doing business.
On the other hand, it has given rise to concerns about the future of jobs. This is forcing CIOs to rethink the fundamentals of IT work, operations and jobs. The fear of losing jobs is overshadowing prospects of new IT jobs that will emerge as the new machine creates new revenue opportunities and job profiles.
Based on the major demographic, business and technology trends observable today, we propose new enterprise IT jobs that will emerge over the next five years and will become cornerstones of the future of IT work:
Bring Your Own IT Facilitator (BYOITF):
Technology is fundamental to any company’s success in driving massive shareholder value. As a result, shadow-IT is now official, sanctioned and, in many cases, necessary. The growth of shadow-IT is an immense opportunity for IT to collaborate with business units and individuals who have mastered the art of working without IT.
As a key member of the IT organisation, the BYOITF will promote automated self-service, collaboration and knowledge-sharing to propel user experience, which will enable the entire workforce to work better and smarter at a known level of acceptable risk.
Master of Edge Computing:
Real-time response is increasingly a business must-have. The inability to respond to consumers in real time could mean loss of business.
Edge computing unleashes the potential of connected hardware devices by decentralising them and putting computing resources closer to the data source, speeding up the analysis process and allowing businesses to act on insights more quickly.
The Master of Edge Computing will overhaul the full-scale IT infrastructure to ensure the new technology seamlessly interacts with legacy systems.
The role will also establish the cloud-edge relationship by differentiating which types of data should be stored where, ensuring the scalability of the solution.
Cyber City Analyst:
Cities are getting connected to digital systems (roads, buildings, cars, traffic signals, almost everything). Municipal bodies are focusing on providing fast and effective delivery of key city services (emergency services, power provisioning and waste collection, among others) using sensor data to citizens.
If these services fail, the city suffers. A cyber city analyst will ensure the functionality and security of the digital systems and processes that make a modern city work, ensuring the steady flow of “healthy” data around the cities, including bio-data, citizen data and asset data.
Man-Machine Teaming Manager:
Human-machine collaboration is the new hybrid workforce. The Man-Machine Teaming Manager will combine the strengths of robots/AI software (accuracy, endurance, computation, speed, etc.) with the strengths of humans (cognition, judgment, empathy, versatility, etc.) in a joint environment for common business goals.
The person will design flexible experiences that meet workers’ expectations, while providing simple and intuitive interaction with machines (translating consumer behaviour to business users, as well as to machines, for instance). The role will also help shift IT’s priorities and goals from business-serving to business-changing.
Quantum Machine Learning (QML) Analyst:
Quantum computing is the future of computing and machine learning is at the core of the ongoing AI revolution. When extremely fast computing is combined with self-learning algorithms, unimaginable levels of performance can be achieved and business problems solved, that are computationally intractable with today’s supercomputers.
A QML analyst will be at the intersection of quantum information processing and machine learning to create technology functionalities that never existed before.
The person will research and develop industry-specific next-generation solutions, using quantum technologies to improve learning algorithms and address real-world business problems at lightning speed.
We must stop looking at humans and machines as opposing forces and start imagining the new IT roles that will emerge because of automation and AI. Over the next few years, we will see a new phase develop for IT organisations, in which they are measured on a very different set of metrics than ever before.
IT jobs of the future are likely to be those that involve understanding which systems, tools and processes will be required in the machine age, and how to create and operate them. A hybrid IT staff will act more as consulting partners, providing technical and integration services and rapid prototyping and testing ideas for the business.
This article is based on a white paper, 21 Jobs of the Future, published by Cognizant, to help leaders gain insights into the future of jobs made with the new tools of the trade (AI, VR, big data, et al.) to solve old problems and explore new opportunities and will create mass employment.
Manish Bahl is a senior director at the Centre for the Future of Work in Cognizant.