Artifical Intelligence and Extended Reality are different forms of interaction. They will impact the core competencies for organisations – from composition and management of the workforce, to marketing and sales to customer service. What is done and how things will get done will change. Embracing the opportunities offered is not something that will be introduced by the IT department; engagement needs to be driven from the top of the organization.
A conception of Artificial Intelligence commonly assumes replacement of human activities by robots or algorithms. The reality is a little more nuanced than machine in, human out. If we think of activities or tasks rather than jobs, most activities at the human-machine interface require people to do new and different things and to do things differently.
Emerging scenarios are collaborative, with virtual digital assistants becoming a critical interface linking data, humans and processes. AI can give individuals the opportunity to focus on more interesting work, but – beyond cost – lack of technical training is impeding take-up. Internal training and talent pipelines will be critical enablers of future business success. Organisations would be well advised, as a strategic level, to review continually future requirements.
Extended reality is an umbrella term covering immersive technologies that combine the physical and digital worlds. Virtual reality concerns the artificial world; augmented reality overlays the digital onto the physical; mixed reality is a world in which real and virtual co-exist and interact real-time.
For the client this creates a quasi teletransportation to an actual site. For the knowledge worker this significantly changes the rules of engagement both with buyers and with their colleagues around the globe. Expertise will be truly be at the push of a button anywhere in the world. Face-to-face meeting XR meetings can happen in an instant. The speed of our world ramps up another gear.
In this new world, departmental walls need to be dismantled and IT needs to come out of the ops room and into the boardroom. We will be collaborating with robots in the workplace, but more immediately we need to collaborate with each other to make the most of the opportunity and manage the technology agenda, before it manages us.