What are the biggest tech trends for the future of work? – SiliconRepublic.com

From wearables and automation to the metaverse, Harvard University’s Aleksandra Przegalińska unpicks what will really stand the particular test of time in workplaces.

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The technology we use in work is rapidly changing and will continue doing so in the future, with innovations from software and AI to wearables and the metaverse.

But which associated with these are for the particular betterment of the employees and may lead to a better working world for all, and what role did the past two and a half years play in bringing these trends forward?

Aleksandra Przegalińska is a senior research associate in the labour and function life programme at Harvard University.

She was a speaker at the latest edition associated with the Schools for Female Leadership within the Digital Age , run by Huawei’s European Leadership Academy. Following her talk, I caught up with Przegalińska to hear more about the work she is performing around automation.

“The program [at Harvard] is focused on workers and work and always has been, but I think for the past couple of many years they’ve been really looking carefully at the future of function and how that landscape looks like from the workers’ perspective, ” she said.

One area she and her team are exploring is “how to create AI-based tools that are actually helping employees and not getting rid of workers”.

She said that it has already been “very easy to tempt businesses into thinking that automation is the way forward” because it can reduce costs plus the number of staff needed, and this can be simple to implement.

‘Those who think about introducing wearables to workplaces have to think again’

“But for the majority associated with tasks we’re performing in work, this is not enough because our jobs are immensely complex and I think a collaborative AI is a more humble approach, ” she stated.

“It says human work is valuable. The majority of jobs cannot be automated easily and that’s actually great, but [workers] can still use the power of artificial intelligence at least in some tasks. ”

Currently, Przegalińska said this research is primarily focused on managers and marketers – traditionally white-collar workers – and trying to make use of automation in order to facilitate their work while keeping them in the loop.

“But the ambition for the future is to also believe about the blue-collar employees because they are the particular ones who are working very hard [and] they can be negatively affected by the software and they are vulnerable in many ways, ” she mentioned.

“Reskilling for them can become harder, plus switching in order to a different profession, so we are thinking about developing the different framework for implementation of AI in places of work that really allows people to perform their work but also to lesson a few of the burdens. ”

Wearables at work

During her talk from the leadership school inside Prague, Przegalińska spoke about the use of wearables, in particular highlighting the Pavlok wristband , known for giving users an electric shock to help all of them break bad habits.

The girl told me that she first became interested in wearable technology around 2016, when it looked like there was going to be a major desire with regard to this technology in workplaces.

“There were many new wearable technologies that were extremely easy in order to use that were introduced not only in the particular fitness or healthcare sector but additionally within other sectors, ” the girl said. “[But] I think the general societal response was not so positive, therefore people got scared. ”

Przegalińska acknowledged that there are plenty of positive applications of wearables, especially whenever it comes to healthcare and wellness. And with the right ethical standards, some places of work have brought wearables in to the workplace with the aim of helping their employees’ wellbeing.

In 2019, PwC staff volunteered to strap smartwatches to their wrists , which collected biometric data on sleep patterns and heart rate variance, with the aim associated with raising individual wellbeing and  productivity.

However, Przegalińska warned that “when considering entering someone’s brain”, you can’t get more sensitive than that will.

“Those who do believe about introducing wearables in order to workplaces have to think again and figure out how to do it in such a way that people feel that they’re benefiting from it and that it’s safe at the particular same time, and I don’t believe that we are in that moment yet. ”

It’s not just wearables that employers are using to check on their own employees. The early days of the pandemic saw an increase inside demand regarding surveillance technologies .

While Przegalińska said that it was hard intended for employers to allocate trust in the beginning, the mass shift in order to remote function became a great demonstration that workers on the whole do not need to be closely monitored or even micromanaged to get their work done. To a large extent it worked really well, this worked well without surveillance technologies. ”

However , the lady did note that the particular pandemic highlighted that there is the need to “create more immersive experiences while operating remotely” and it has opened up the possibilities of using wearable technologies in a better method at function.

The particular future associated with metaverse work

One of the particular biggest trends being discussed in conjunction with the future of work – and many other areas – is the metaverse.

Before the particular work she does now, Przegalińska has been part of a research project on Second Life, the online virtual world that will be not a million miles away from the a lot more immersive metaverse concept we know today. The aim of the project had been to research the social fabric associated with Second Life and how people build bonds there.

Whilst she stated it had been very interesting, the girl got tired from it. “It required so much time and effort to build those ephemeral relations over there that will could translate into something yet didn’t have to. ”

At the time, Facebook had started in order to grow in popularity plus it required far less effort and time through people.

‘I do not know what the particular incentive would be to spend time within a virtual office’

“In Second Life, it was a world you had in order to inhabit somehow. You had to live in it, you experienced to build things in there, you had to really spend period. For me, it was really consuming, ” she mentioned.

“It was also tiring to spend so much time in front of the screen and also sit for therefore many hours and I think the current metaverse is not getting rid of that either, not to a great extent. ”

With all of this in mind, she expects more from the metaverse for it to end up being worthwhile. For example, whilst augmented reality can add interesting layers to the globe that we already experience, the metaverse just makes the girl nauseous.

Within fact, inside a recently published study , 18 volunteers spent a week working in the metaverse using virtual reality. Many complained associated with increased anxiety, nausea and being much less productive.

“I just don’t know exactly what the incentive would be to spend time within a virtual office, ” said Przegalińska.

The lady said the lady hopes someone will come up with the vision of the metaverse that is usually really adding something as opposed in order to just replicating her workplace in real life, but with an added waterfall. “I just do not get it. ”

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