CEOs: Technology to look out for in 2018

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CEOs: Technology to look out for in 2018Kate Hollowood
May 19, 2018

CEOs have mixed feelings about the impact that technology will have on the business world in 2018, with some more prepared for disruption than others.

Despite artificial intelligence (AI) driving huge changes in the workforce, CEOs seem relaxed about how the technology will impact employment, according to a report by PwC’s Global CEO Survey. The 2017 research, entitled “Sizing the prize: What’s the real value of AI for your business and how can you capitalise?” found that over the next year, fewer than one in five CEOs are expecting to reduce headcount due to automation. This is in stark contrast with doomsday claims and beliefs that human jobs are fast being replaced by robots.

The growth of AI, which the same PwC global AI report predicts will contribute an additional $15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030, is expected to impact the job market by replacing cheaper human labor. Jobs like sales operators, cleaners and vehicle operators will be among the most affected, according to a Forbes article, which explains that industries where labor is a major component of the cost structure are the most vulnerable.

The same article predicts that job markets that require skills like interpersonal interaction, understanding emotion and creativity will grow, due to AI’s lack of ability in these areas. This includes roles in areas such as social service, art, design and the media.

In other professions, such as administrative assistants and lawyers, AI will help support an employee rather than replace them. The technology’s ability to make existing roles more efficient is perhaps why CEOs aren’t concerned about redundancies.

However, PcW’s survey revealed CEOs are less relaxed about cyber threats, with 40 percent claiming to be “extremely concerned” about the topic, an increase from 24 percent in 2017. Hackers are going after big companies, exemplified by the cyberattack on the Equifax credit reporting agency last year. Companies that hold people’s personal data, such as web browsing habits, are particularly vulnerable, according to author of Future Crimes, Marc Goodman. “These companies are unregulated, and when one leaks, all hell will break loose,” he says.

Despite this, many CEOs are unprepared for a cyberattack, and so its vital that they start understand the risk and how it could impact their business.

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