The 'Future of Work' and the NZ AI opportunity

The World Economic Forum projects that from 2018 to 2022, 133 million jobs will be created by new technologies (not just AI), almost twice as many as the jobs that will become displaced.

We recently invited executives and senior leaders from our customers to an exclusive luncheon presentation from Louise Francis, New Zealand Country Manager and the Research Director for IDC Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ). The agenda focused on the future of work and how businesses in New Zealand are leading the way with AI and innovative technologies.

Louise began her talk with insights into how NZ organisations are adapting to the future of work with AI, with 73% stating that they have changed their business model in the past two years because of implementing an AI solution*. Unsurprisingly, there’s a predicted rapid growth over the next few years with an expectancy that AI-powered enterprises will respond to customers, competitors, regulators and partners a third faster than their peers by 2024.*

Despite the vast potential and speed at which businesses are exploring this tech, evidence suggests that AI strategy can still be disconnected somewhat, with only 20% having a strategy in place*. But it’s good news if you’re in this 20%! Those who already have their strategy in place are well ahead of the pack – and the potential long term rewards are enormous.

We learnt more about the drivers vs barriers to AI investment and how organisations are dealing with the much-discussed topic of bias and ethics, with an ethics framework as an important feature for many organisations. There are also challenges ahead, including the rise of “deep fakes” – a technology where realistic videos of people are created using AI. With the already existing issue of online truth decay, the potential ramifications of this are very real.  

In terms of managing and organising staff with AI skills, the results are variable, but there’s a growth in new job roles that require AI expertise. Louise also gave us some examples of NZ use cases where AI is producing realistic outcomes (including our own FAQ Bot and DOC’s Kakapo Digital Twin project).

Of course, with all this potential, there’s also risk. Only 3% of businesses told IDC in 2019 that they have had no AI project failures, while the average failure rate is around 1 in three projects*. These failures often stem from a lack of expertise and unclear value. However, NZ AI budgets are on the way up, and there are emerging technologies on the AI horizon – including “AI” chips, affective computing, intelligent process automation, explainable AI engines and artificial general intelligence.

What lies ahead?

The presentation concluded with key ways to prepare for the future; including designing for privacy and security, evaluating AI deployments for risk and looking for people who are adaptable and willing to learn new things. The reminder is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s time to answer those hard questions about how you will manage bots and AI in your future enterprise.  

Thank you to Louise Francis for sharing insights and expertise in this area, we’re certainly looking forward to what the future holds for these AI endeavours.        

If you want to talk more about your current of future AI projects, talk to the team.  


* Sources: IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Future of Work 2020 Predictions; IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2020 Predictions; WW AI and Cognitive Predictions; IDC Australia and New Zealand Artificial Intelligence Landscape, 2020