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Friday, December 15, 2023

How AI, Remote Work, and Covid Reshape the Workplace

"We are moving away from the "normal" industrial economy where labor, equipment, and capital produced reliable outputs; a handful of media gatekeepers provided reliable access to people's attention, and it was relatively easy to keep winners and make plans." - Dror Poleg

The adage, "If somebody else says it, it must be true..." works here.

I've been going on about how the convergence of the fear of Covid, the work from anywhere movement and now Ai/LLMs annihilates current social, and business models.

There are many factors, but here are three:
  1. The fear of Covid, false narratives and authoritarian guidelines
  2. Work from anywhere, without oversight
  3. Ai/LLM, easily communicate with historical data
What this all means is there is a growing list of items, functions, titles, positions and jobs that are being eliminated, right now:

The end of the 9-5
The end of Unions
The end of cubicles
The end of retail clerks
The end of purchasing agents
The end of the office buildings
The end of manufacturing jobs
The end of middle management
The end of selling professionals
The end of the C-Suite, no more C-Level
The end of huge software companies, minimal headcount
The end of mediocre writers, artists, producers and creatives
The end of spreadsheets, word processing and customer relationship management software

The erosion of Taylorism, akin to the transition from Piscean introspection to Aquarian innovation, isn't driven by a single force. It's a complex system of technological advancements, changing social values, and evolving worker demands.

To be clear, although the above list is not comprehensive and grows hourly, there is a Long Tail - somebody, somewhere on the planet is using a buggy whip and creating on a typewriter.  Each of the above will approach zero, few will reach absolute zero. 

Regardless, this latest wave is the big one, illuminating how our world is truly nonlinear, multidimensional and always in motion. 

The title, "Real Estate & AI: Ten Predictions', piqued my interest as it seemed to roll all of my observations and pontifications into one, easy to read synopsis as an example for other niches and markets.  

The current Commercial Real Estate climate is a reaction to and predictor of technological impact; Ai is part of the environment, and like gravity it moves everything.

"Ultimately, the physical world will have to adapt to accommodate a society and economy that are increasingly unpredictable, volatile, and polarized. We are moving away from the "normal" industrial economy where labor, equipment, and capital produced reliable outputs; a handful of media gatekeepers provided reliable access to people's attention, and it was relatively easy to keep winners and make plans." - Dror
Check out the entire essay.  The ideas that stand out to me are all transformative - 
  • sensors will give Ai connections to our real, physical world allowing even more data to be digested and 
  • used for enhanced processes 
  • human relationships will be deeper and more interesting
  • the need for office space will continue to decline
It doesn't take a genius to see that fewer workers in an office means fewer components of technology used: not as many phones, computers, printers, copiers, or toner cartridges.  The shift is historic, a "...true driver of the growing demand for flexibility across all types of assets — offices, housing, retail, and industrial...".

For those in the office technology realm, indeed for all of us in every realm, Ai in combination with all factors is radically changing the way we use technology, the way we work and get things done and how we live.

In light of this evolving whirlwind of technological forces, here's a curated list of suggestions for the office technology industry to thrive in the current environment and sustain successful engagements with customers:

Embrace AI Integration:

Leverage artificial intelligence to enhance office technology. Implement AI-driven solutions for automation, data analysis, and personalized user experiences. This not only increases efficiency but also aligns with the modern tech landscape.

Prioritize Cybersecurity:

With the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, make cybersecurity a top priority. Develop robust security protocols and regularly update systems to safeguard sensitive data. Assure clients that your technologies are designed with their security in mind.

Facilitate Remote Work Solutions:

Recognize the paradigm shift towards remote work. Develop and market technologies that seamlessly support remote collaboration, virtual meetings, and efficient communication. Adapt your offerings to meet the demands of a distributed workforce.

The convergence of AI, remote work, and Covid anxieties is an opportunity for reinvention.   In addition to embracing at the personal level, we have the responsibility to becoming AI Leaders, evangelizing the use and adoption of this new tool. 

By embracing adaptability, prioritizing human-centered solutions, and capitalizing on the power of AI, we in the office technology industry help navigate this landscape and shape a future of work that is both productive and fulfilling.

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