Are we too dependent on technology in the workplace?

By Holly Tyler, Junior Account Executive

To say that technology has become an all-encompassing entity amidst modern-day life would be to state an obvious fact. Most of us would only need to look at our daily routines to grasp a sense of how digitally dependent we truly are. No longer do we walk to our local travel agents to book a holiday abroad, we simply download a mobile app that allows us to from the comfort of our own home – but wait, there’s more. Now we can book ourselves a taxi to the airport. We can pre-order food to eat before our flight. We have mobile banking to convert the British pound into our necessary currency. Tech has enabled us to achieve more than we could possibly imagine, and for many businesses, technology and the subsequent effect it has on our lives brings the promise of professional perks, as well as plenty of potential pitfalls.

Image credit: Forbes

 

In a 2019 article that explores the benefits of technology in business, Alison Coleman of The Telegraph states that business leaders aim to focus their attention on the rise of social media. Surveys conducted by Brother UK and Telegraph Spark which Coleman samples within her article state that 35% of business owners believe social media will be their central focus over the next 12 months in order to future-proof their enterprise. Online platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are all used to promote global businesses and the sales of their products and goods. It can also be argued that these same social media applications are used to ‘sell’ our own self-image, whether that be our authentic selves or an ideal image of our life which we hope other people will believe and accept. According to a recent UENI study (as featured in The Telegraph), Facebook is named as the preferred platform for selling products, with five out of six small businesses admitting to using social media platforms as a way of increasing their company sales. Here we can see a prime example of how technology is used to increase efficiency and productivity in our daily work environment, supporting the idea that the effect of technology on our lives is one that provides positive results.

Another form of technology piquing the interest of business owners is artificial intelligence (AI). The rise of AI and the effect it has on our working lives has garnered much attention in recent years, including media coverage from publications such as Forbes who discuss the use of AI during the business recruitment process. The 2019 article states that AI-enabled machines are now being implemented to help business owners choose the right candidates based on cognitive and emotional responses. While this ideology may help pick the appropriate candidates based on intelligence, it seems that the human interaction of a face-to-face interview could now become a distant memory as a result.

A recent statistic from thinktank platform Reform (as featured in a 2017 article from HRreview) indicates that 250,000 administrative jobs could be taken over by AI-based technologies as of the year 2030. This statement foreshadows a more drastic effect that technology could have on the everyday lives of working humans; a future that highlights our society’s reliance on technology, as well as the potential for an AI-dominant workplace. In terms of how workers themselves feel about this change, YouGov reveals that 38% of workers believe their current job will still exist for them in 15 years’ time, however, 15% of employees believe that their job will soon be replaced by AI entirely.

To conclude, it seems that rather than influencing our lives, technology has simply become a part of life itself. The reality is that technology is not going away. But rather than assessing whether this digital uprising is a positive or negative thing we should be embracing and acknowledging both sides of the coin while keeping our eyes peeled for the latest and greatest advancements.