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How Technology and Generative AI will change the future of work?

Generative AI
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Rokas Jurkėnas

Every year since COVID Microsoft releases a work report about the trends in their workplace. This year the report is all about Generative AI and how it impacts Microsoft employees’ work.

Future of work

We do not receive similar reports from other large companies. It is interesting to hear how AI is used in Microsoft and how it affects certain aspects of work.

What is the future of work report?

The New Future of Work is an initiative that aims to create solutions for a future of work that is meaningful, productive, and fair. It started during the pandemic to address the urgent need to understand remote work practices.

The report aims to summarise recent and relevant research for those interested in reimagining work for the better, as challenges are being made to a decades-old approach to work. Therefore, the New Future of Work Initiative now focuses on artificial intelligence.

What is the future of work in 2024?

While predicting the future with absolute certainty is impossible, 2024 is already shaping up to be an interesting year for the world of work. Here are some of my predictions not regarding just AI:

AI and Automation: Generative AI is expected to significantly boost productivity and innovation in some industries, particularly knowledge-based ones.

Hybrid and Remote Work: The trend towards remote and hybrid work arrangements is likely to continue, driven by employee preferences for flexibility and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Talent Shortage and Competition: With an aging workforce and high demand for skilled labor, many industries are facing talent shortages.

New Technologies: Technologies like virtual and augmented reality are finding applications in various industries, leading to new work tasks and skills requirements.

Focus on Wellbeing and Sustainability: As mental health awareness grows, companies will prioritize employee wellbeing through initiatives like stress management programs and mental health resources.

New Future of Work Report insights

Microsoft future of work

Quick disclaimer: The statistics are approximate, and some of the key points are rephrased.

Lab experiments show LLMs can substantially improve productivity

Microsoft studies have shown that people complete simulated information work tasks more quickly and produce higher quality results when using generative AI-based tools:

  • Employees took 37% less time on common writing tasks.
  • BCG consultants produced >40% higher quality on one simulated consulting project.
  • Employees were also 2x faster at solving simulated decision-making problems when using LLM-based search.

For some tasks, increased speed can come with moderately lower correctness.

  • When the LLM made mistakes, BCG consultants with access to the tool were 19 percentage points more likely to produce incorrect solutions.
  • Simple UX-based solutions can be effective in helping people navigate these trade-offs.
  • Users may need help negotiating the tradeoffs involved to maximize productivity gains.

Copilot for M365 saves time for a variety of tasks in lab studies and surveys

The Microsoft AI and Productivity Report summarises findings from eight early studies.

copilot saves time

These studies primarily focused on the use of M365 Copilot for tasks carried out by information workers, where LLMs are most likely to provide significant value. The tasks include summarizing meetings, retrieving information, and creating content.

  • 73% of respondents agreed that Copilot helped them complete tasks faster, and 85% said it would help them get to a good first draft more quickly.
  • Although many studies found no significant effect on quality,
  • in the meeting summarization study, Copilot users took less time and included 11.1 out of 15 specific pieces of information in the assessment rubric, compared to 12.4 out of 15 for users who did not have access to Copilot.
  • 68% of enterprise Copilot users agreed that Copilot improved the quality of their work.
  • Additionally, 72% of enterprise Copilot users found that it reduced the mental effort required for mundane or repetitive tasks.

Most jobs will likely have at least some of their tasks affected by LLMs

jobs affected by llamas

Many studies have used AI’s current capabilities to try to measure where AI will have the biggest impact – either by making some people more productive or by replacing some roles.

  • A study by OpenAI found that around 80% of the US workforce could see at least 10% of their tasks affected by the introduction of GPTs.
  • Around 19% of workers could see at least 50% of their jobs affected.
  • A study by LinkedIn researchers categorized each job category according to whether few of its associated skills will be affected by AI or, if many of its skills will be affected, whether it also has many complementary skills or no complementary skills.

What jobs will AI replace in by 2030?

The report highlights the potential for AI to improve many aspects of work. However, in my opinion, it is unlikely that many jobs will be replaced by AI soon.

Instead, increased productivity through the use of AI may allow teams to remain small even as a company expands, or allow companies to continue to operate with a smaller team.

Customer service and other jobs that involve online chatting with customers will be the most affected. Many companies already use AI chatbots to handle customer inquiries, reducing the need for large teams. However, companies that sell SaaS products may not be able to rely solely on AI.

Final thoughts

final thoughts ai

The Microsoft future of work reports provide valuable insights into how new trends are affecting work. The 2023 report focuses on AI, which appears to be increasing productivity.

AI is proving to be a useful tool for those who need to create text-based content. I am excited about the future of work and look forward to the next report and how AI will continue to evolve over the next year.

Author

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Rokas Jurkėnas

Need some help with No-code?

For several years, I have been developing various products and systems using the No Code tools.

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