The Effect of Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace


Intro: The Effect of Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

So, the robot that replaces me...will he want a private office too?

We have all heard the stories of artificial intelligence and logarithms and robots descending upon us to perform our mundane tasks.  They’re faster, more accurate, and they don’t mind doing the boring work.  But what if your career just happens to hinge on the fast, accurate sorting of information that these robots are so adept at accomplishing?  Is this the end of human data-crunchers as we know it?  Maybe...but as stated in the March issue of The Leesman Review, “...the rise of artificial intelligence does not need to be synonymous with the fall of human intelligence.”

If you look back through history, we have confronted “technology taking over” problems many times, and the result has never been a large swath of humanity languishing, jobless, with nothing to do.  When the auto loom was invented, did that mean thousands of fabric weavers were out of work with no way to support their families?  For some, yes.  But others had the creativity to repurpose their expertise and became auto loom operators, or quality control inspectors, or even the designers of the fabrics that these machines produce (who’s the boss now?).

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence, “big data” and machine learning are affecting all our lives and changing the way we experience work every day.  LinkedIn Learning recently reported the number one skill companies are searching for is CREATIVITY.  While AI is faster, more accurate and less prone to coffee breaks, we humans still possess common sense and critical thinking skills that are key to unlocking the full potential of these technologies. 

The age of CREATIVITY is upon us.  This year, PDR’s brave, CREATIVE voyagers squeezed their way through the halls of NeoCon.  Their focus was on discovering how we create human-experience-driven spaces that support creative thought.  The upcoming 5-Part series of blog posts describe the movements we see and how they can be implemented to facilitate, and increase, the opportunity for creative thought in your workplace.  Check out Part 1 below and come back and see us for a new post every day this week.


Part 1: Mobile Technology Enhancing the Mobile Workplace

One of the most fascinating topics right now is technology. Imagine life without it, hard isn’t it? Especially within our organizations, staying technologically relevant has become a full time job in order to stay ahead and create opportunity. For the workplace, flexible and technologically friendly spaces are imperative, and they must adapt quickly and cost effectively to increase productivity, creativity, and efficiency.

Mobility and flexibility allow for space reconfiguration to be customized by the end user for a specific task. Workplaces are demanding mobile furniture on castors, movable partitions, privacy screens and presentation or pin-up space, which was demonstrated at NeoCon. These movable elements can be manipulated to turn a solo work space into a group collaboration space or a focus space, and then just as easily turned back into a solo workstation.

A 2012 global Adobe study found that 75% of people prefer to think creatively on their own rather than in groups. A little-known fact in the professional sphere is that group brainstorming sessions are on average much less effective than just asking people to come up with ideas on their own and in their own time. Therefore, mobile spaces supporting different work styles is critical to foster creativity.

Steelcase Mobile Charging Station

Steelcase Mobile Charging Station

Mobile charging is another huge element in creating a mobile workplace. At NeoCon, several companies had mobile charging towers with a variety of charging ports used for charging phones, tablets, computers, etc. Steelcase showcased a product that resembled a mobile speaker to charge several laptops throughout the day. This type of mobile charging alleviates the need for hardwired power located across the floors and reduces the amount of construction when the next workplace shift occurs. Being able to connect and charge in a variety of ways allows employees to work anywhere across the office.

TV/AV Displays Mounted on Movable Carts

TV/AV Displays Mounted on Movable Carts

Another mobile technology movement noticed at NeoCon was having TV/AV Displays mounted on movable carts that can be moved anywhere in the office. This capability can turn a group of workstations into a presentation and meeting space.

Demountable partitions can be used to enclose spaces with little to no infrastructure. Orangebox showed a product at NeoCon permitting ceiling louvers to be installed on demountable partition constructed rooms of varying sizes that could be opened or closed to achieve the desired acoustics. This product also contained a technological advancement allowing the louvers to open automatically in the event of a fire, which fits fire code requirements.

At NeoCon, almost every workstation, side table, lounge chair and bench had charging capabilities, making it possible for employees to work from anywhere in the office. Having partitions that can be taken down and moved to another place and completely reconfigured makes it easy to create rooms within an open workplace plan. Giving companies the ability to alter their workplace on the fly will allow them to better adapt to increase creativity without sacrificing efficiency and productivity.


The Effect of Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace - By Marc Bellamy


Marc is a Principal and Partner at PDR with over 15 years of experience in corporate interiors, base building design and real estate development. As a Project Manager, Marc has overseen in-house teams as well as numerous consultants and contractors - ensuring that communication about the progress of a project flows between all involved parties.


Mobile Technology Enhancing the Mobile Workplace - By Katie Salinas


As an Interior Designer, Katie has a passion for understanding how people experience and interact with the spaces around them. She believes that the best design solutions are achieved through collaboration and the ability of each individual to contribute what they are most passionate about.