Artificial intelligence is spearheading a revolution in business communications, with increased intelligence of these automated services meaning more and more job roles could become surplus to requirements. It’s predicted that 50% of the entire US workforce will be replaced by some form of automation in the future. Despite being such a useful tool for businesses, it’s potentially a threat to employees whose jobs may be at risk thanks to the developing capabilities of AI.
Business app development experts Getapp followed up on research outlining which jobs were most likely to be replaced by AI. The research was based on a landmark study out of Oxford University, it analyzed different job roles, taking into account their level of repetitiveness and the amount of specialized training and social intelligence they require. Ultimately, this helped to determine which jobs can be done by an AI.
The main trend in the research found any roles that heavily involve human emotion are the least likely to be replaced by AI. Sales, marketing and human resource managers all require a level of empathy, creativity, and emotional intelligence to be successful. AI is currently incapable of human-levels of emotion, which is why each of these jobs had a less than 2% chance of being replaced by some form of artificial intelligence. We’ve looked at several job roles that are best kept for humans, and where AI can be used most effectively in business.
What is artificial intelligence?
Businesses currently use automated machines to simulate human intelligence and associated behaviors, machine learning then helps them become more efficient when carrying out tasks – thus creating artificial intelligence. Some modern examples of artificial intelligence in practice would be the use of chatbots or hyper-personalization.
Chatbots are used in customer service, utilizing the growing power of social media to respond to customer queries and guide users through business’ websites.
Hyper-personalization uses AI to analyze customer engagement with marketing campaigns. This information is used to cater to different demographics of consumers, using specific strategies, and helping to maximize positive response.
These two uses for AI are quicker and more efficient than using humans and don’t require a regular pay cheque. So, from a business perspective, utilizing AI is becoming an increasingly easy decision to make. The problem for employees is that the capabilities of AI when it comes to areas such as customer service are limitless. This said, when it comes to complex human interaction, requiring emotional intelligence, AI is still some way off. This means roles that require this level of understanding are out of reach of AI – for now.
Sales managers insight and expertise remains key
Sales is an extremely broad industry, and it’s still well worth hiring human staff. There are some sales roles that may become automated, but for the time being, businesses are still relying on sales reps to connect with customers, particularly with B2B and telesales. AI might be capable of selling a product or a solution, but sales managers offer valuable insight and expertise. Sales managers are required to become experts in specific markets, helping them guide customers in the right direction. They must also motivate their sales teams, supporting them in achieving their goals whilst monitoring progress, something that’s currently far too complex and beyond the capabilities of AI.
CEB, which is now Gartner, carried out research (available to clients) revealing what makes a successful sales manager. The results identified these key components:
- Judgment facilitation: This involves supporting those around them to help them succeed in connecting with others and completing their work to a high standard. Encouraging reps to both share their ideas and promote a healthy level of debate.
- Coaching: This requires a good judge of character, working out what levels of mentoring different sales reps require and specifying their training strategies to individuals.
- Sales innovation: Managers must be able to investigate, create and share innovations among the team. This involves identifying obstacles and potential solutions.
These are skills that current AI technology is unable to do and makes up a fundamental part of any sales team.
AI may never be able to replace these functions within the business, however, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t ever be used. Just because it can’t perform the entire role doesn’t mean it can’t help humans to do a more efficient job. One way in which AI could be incorporated into a sales manager’s role would be through predictive forecasting. This is where forecasts for sales trends and seasonality are made using data from previous periods, referred to as predictive analytics. AI can be used to efficiently help process this data and set accurate sales targets.
Marketing managers bring creativity and teamwork
Marketing covers a range of activities, and AI’s inclusion in this is becoming increasingly important in making more cost-effective and efficient strategies. Marketing managers oversee and ensure all operations are running effectively and within marketing targets while boosting creativity and reinforcing brand consistency.
Many functions such as catering email-marketing campaigns or using social media marketing can be done by AI bots, but the demands on marketing managers are still beyond artificial intelligence. A report from CEB, now Gartner (available to clients) has outlined some of the requirements for this role:
- Creativity: Understanding the best content to suit different audiences and use their experience to drive sales.
- Customer insight: Optimizing marketing strategies to appeal to the right target audience, and understanding the customer journey and what motivates people into purchasing.
- Collaboration: Marketing managers need to be able to work well with the sales team in order to ensure marketing materials are useful.
Having this in-depth understanding of human behavior, enabling successful collaboration with other teams is still beyond AI. This all means hiring the right people for this role is still important for businesses.
One area of marketing where we may see more frequent use of AI is in conversation marketing. This is a strategy that sees chatbots deliver messages to consumers at convenient times. The chatbot will then analyze the consumer responses and cater to its own response. This is a more personalized way of delivering marketing.
Human resource managers need a human touch
Working in HR is an area where human emotion is most important. The ability to cater to appropriate responses and judgments when it comes to sensitive issues and recruitment is still too advanced for AI. As a human resource manager, you’re in charge of making sure the human side of business runs smoothly. CEB, now Gartner’s (available to clients), research once again outlines the top requirements of a human resource manager:
- Employee development: Furthering the careers of employees within a business. This requires human guidance and emotional support, as well as a keen eye for who would flourish in which job roles.
- Improving recruitment: Understanding a person’s culture and network to make the best recruitment decisions. Human resource managers also use the business’ brand to attract new recruits.
- Employee engagement: This involves asking employees about the past, present, and future to give insight on what they expect from an organization, formulating strategies that work.
All of these require some degree of human emotion and strong judgment skills when faced with sensitive situations. AI is a long way off being able to manage similar responsibilities to a human resource manager, but again, there are ways in which AI could improve certain processes.
Soon, AI could be used to help remove recruitment bias. Smart technology could eliminate the chance of anyone being hired based on anything other than their individual merits, although this would only really be effective in the early stages.
Despite the fact it seems like AI is some way off possessing the capabilities to replace these jobs, we are already seeing how this technology can help improve certain processes for business. There is no doubt AI has a big role in the future of business and companies will no doubt see benefits from implementing this technology. What’s more, it’s only likely to improve in coming years, making it an invaluable part of any business.