Technological change is happening at an exceptionally rapid pace, as we hurtle through this era dubbed the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.

As technology evolves, we’re seeing the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) powered solutions, robots, cobots and machine learning transforming the roles and decisions once made by humans. Today’s cutting-edge technology is reducing the demand for human intervention, just as mechanical muscle reduced the demand for physical labour in the first industrial revolution.

Unlike the first industrial revolution, however, today’s transformation isn’t just taking place in our factories. Homes and offices are being impacted by the adoption of voice assistants, connected home devices, and intelligent business solutions. The influence of these innovations will fundamentally impact how we create, manage and act upon information.

The workplace of the future

This change is already occurring in a number of industries including insurance and law. AI and cognitive systems are being deployed in legal discovery, insurance applications, underwriting and claims processing, as well as in the delivery of financial investment advice. But it doesn’t stop there.

In health care, remote diagnosis and monitoring can take place with the help of telemedicine. This removes the need to physically see a physician, and has the potential to deliver life-saving advice to remote communities. While human involvement is not entirely removed from these roles, it is clear that some jobs that we have long understood as ‘human’ are being heavily impacted by the advancement of technology.

AI and machine learning are becoming increasingly more powerful as they are deployed across more organisations. It’s a trend that consumers are also coming to terms with. An OpenText survey found that 73% of Australians believe robots and intelligent automation will be working inside parliament within the next 20 years, with 18% suggesting this will happen within the next two years.

Most of the respondents see key benefits of this technology in administration, particularly with the rise of virtual assistants and chatbots that can deliver an instant response to an online query. The use of AI in this capacity is already generating a huge volume of data, much of which requires content and information management systems in place to extract greater value and enhanced customer experience.

AI, ECM, EIM – sorting through the alphabet soup

As AI moves further into the workplace, it will be put to work across a number of industries and roles, from manufacturing to mining, banking, and even marketing. At the heart of AI’s growth lies the importance of data; and specifically how we can use AI to generate and analyse, manage and mine this data to act on true insights.

Enterprise Information Management (EIM) has a key role to play in the growth of AI for enterprises. With its ability to store, manage and present data, EIM is helping to bridge the gap in AI – a virtual playground for the development of this limitless technology.

The same goes for Enterprise Content Management (ECM). AI offers a wealth of opportunities for businesses in streamlining the processes and workflows involved in content management – from searching and generating content to predicting choices and moving conversions.

What does it mean for you?

One key benefit of digital transformation is its ability to release humans from the confines of mundane work. Not only do people now have more freedom and time to think and be creative, but they are also able to use technological advancements to add more value to everyday life. Humans can be given a new lease on life; gaining time to innovate, expand on ideas and conceive of new processes, fuelled by the kind of thinking that only happens when our minds have time to wander.

The fourth industrial revolution will undoubtedly drive an increasing reliance on self-service technology, specifically AI, as well as machine-to-machine communication, and there is no denying that almost every job will be impacted by this change.

But as technology develops and a range of ‘traditionally human’ roles are replaced, new jobs will be created in the ensuing transition – new jobs that will play to what makes us distinctly human: creativity, innovation and strategic thought.