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#AI@Work:We’re Getting Old!

Another influence on the workforce is age. There is no reason why a workplace with workers in their 50s and 60s can’t be as innovative. But age seems to slow down the adoption of new technologies and change. The median age of a worker is now 42 years old. Twenty years ago, the median age was 38. In the last several decades we have reshaped life expectancy, and this has implications for work. The aging of the population is challenging economic structures from Social Security to Medicare. America is getting old. Our labor supply is shrinking. Baby boomers are retiring, and a great deal of knowledge is going with them. This challenges the redefinition of roles and processes.
By 2030 only 59% of adults over 16 will be in the workforce. This influences economic wellness for each and every person. Older workers may be less likely to adapt to change. They may not be used to learning ew skills, so businesses with older workers may be less agile, less likely to deploy emerging technologies.

About half of American companies are 11 years old or older. Robots and AI could help companies address some of this disparity. It might seem counterintuitive but by replacing retiring workers, AI might help fill a worker shortage and raise productivity and incomes. The aging workforce becoming obsolete isn’t often examined. Replacement by technologies may be something that allows us to age out of the workplace gracefully. For all the fear and misgivings about AI and robots, technologies might have a very positive effect on a workforce that is quickly aging out.

Innovative technologies are coming to the workplace at increasing rates. Every day new technologies are being tweaked into some new application. Applications that teach interviewing, collaboration, conversation and coaching skills are delivered as games, eLearning and videos. Successful organizations are trying to sort through this explosion of apps. They want products that will support organizational performance. Successful organizations learn to focus on solutions not on technologies. The business environment is increasingly complex.

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