Researchers Explore the Future Workplace in an Online Game
What do video games have in common with the work place? A lot, it turns out.
In a new online game called The Automated Life gamers will get a virtual experience of a futuristic, increasingly automated work place.
Now that algorithms are trading stocks, robots are building cars, and computers are carrying out translations, many professions are being transformed by technology.
Thanks to artificial intelligence and robotics, we are seeing some careers disappear while some new careers emerge.
The Max Plank Institute for Human Development’s Center for Humans and Machines is behind the development of the online game.
How will robots and artificial intelligence shape the work place of the future? How many of our roles will be taken over by automation? What skills and knowledge will people need to find a place the future work force?
What jobs will become obsolete? What new jobs will emerge? These are some of the issues addressed by participants in The Automated Life game.
Alex Rutherford spearheaded the design of the game at the Center for Humans and Machines with these questions in mind.
At the start of the game, every player finds themselves in a career that it at risk of going obsolete thanks to technology.
They face the challenge of saving up to train for new skills in order to secure new jobs. These new jobs come with opportunities to further up skill and improve their career trajectory.
As they progress, automation and new technology continues to eliminate more jobs and players have to constantly make shrewd decisions bearing in mind technological advancements, their own financial situation, and how long they have before they reach retirement.
“We’re seeing time and again how the accelerating pace of automation is causing people a lot of stress and generating a sense of fear about the future. Our aim was to capture this in a game and show how people in low-paid jobs experience automation,” explains Max Planck Institute for Human Development Senior Researcher Alex Rutherford.
Rutherford spearheads a working group that probes the relationship between labor economics, network science, and artificial intelligence as far as the future of the work place is concerned. Rutherford came up with the idea and took charge of the creative process.
Francis Tseng, the game developer draws a parallel between working life and video games. “In computer games, the developers set the rules—players can only make limited decisions. So in fact it’s rather similar to automation in working life,” Tseng quips.
This is not the first time that researchers from the Center for Humans and Machines have come up with an exciting gaming project.
They also created MyGoodness to rate users based on how generously they are willing to donate. The creation of MyGoodness was led by Edmond Awad.
Besides altruism, the team has also experimented with a multiple people controlling one person with the game Social Game. This game was demonstrated at a larger scale during a Halloween party in 2018 when one human being was jointly controlled by a group. The group sent the person on an adventure.
The Automated Life is a game that is meant to gather data from each player anonymously and this data will fuel research in future.
“Automation in the world of work is an issue that affects us all in some way and confronts society with significant challenges. That’s why research is needed that explores the problems and identifies potential solutions,” continued Alex Rutherford, a Senior Research Scientist with the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.
What 2021 is bringing to Digital Asset Management
Digital asset management is a growing market. It attained a global $3.88 billion mark globally in 2020 and it looks like the only way is up.
Digital asset management is a software solution to the problem of storing, retrieving, and using digital assets. Digital assets include web pages, text documents, blueprints, audio files, graphics, and videos among other types of files.
Digital asset management solutions make it easy to access data as well as edit and share it through an integrated interface. Organizations and businesses are increasingly working online and collaborating from remote locations. This makes digital asset management an essential business service.
Why DAM will Gain Popularity
DAMs will gain more and more users who will need help managing digital files. DAM software fits in well with content management systems for example. This provides a more cohesive experience.
There are multiple types of DAM software that one can either host on-site or on the cloud. Get the best by comparing a range of DAM software tools to find the one that meets your personal needs. You want a DAM tool that can do all this:
- Asset organization
- Easy asset sharing both internally and externally
- Doing away with duplicated assets
- Help with version control
To get the most out of DAM software, take time to understand it and what it can do.
Multi-Channel Automated Marketing
Last year’s lockdowns saw many companies ramp up their online marketing investments. This increase in online marketing spending continues into 2021 and will probably go on for years afterward.
This focus on online marketing has created more work. People have to work on blogs, build social media engagement, conduct analyses, etc. Marketing departments have to do a lot more work across multiple social media channels using the same budget that they had before.
DAM software can make this a lot easier. It can automate some tasks and create a more user-friendly interface.
They can make it easier for users to share files and distribute them in a usable format. Before 2022, DAM software will be even more widely used. More companies will appreciate the practicality of DAM.
Blockchain and DAM
Blockchain technology has great potential for uses other than tracing bitcoin. Merging bitcoin technology with Digital Asset Management could create a better solution that delivers a higher level of security – letting users know whether an image is unaltered or data unchanged.
Tools that Enable Automatic Tagging
Tagging images and text files can be tedious. DAM relies on metadata to enable users to search for files and find them. Automatic tagging is central to metadata.
DAM can recognize the information in image and text files and automatically suitable tags. OCR automatically detects the content inside text files and tags them automatically.
Soon, natural language processing will make it possible for DAM systems to automatically recognize video as well as audio files.
The evolution of these tools could soon make manual tagging a thing of the past.
Skoltech Researchers Develop a New way of Studying Startups
Researchers based at Skoltech have used Big Data from Google Trends to develop an innovative methodology to analyze study how startups grow.
Big Data is yielded by internet users and how they interact with the web. The new methodology comprises a research tool as well as a source of data.
A paper detailing the researchers’ findings appeared in the Technological Forecasting and Social Change journal which focuses on technology management.
Fast-growing tech companies and startups are widely seen as crucial to economic development, job creation, and innovation worldwide as well as nationally.
Even though they are so important for the economy and draw a lot of interest from policymakers and researchers, startups are not easy to analyze because of their growth patterns.
Because early-stage businesses are both fragile and very private, they usually don’t have the time to share information about their achievements, how they did it, and when things happened for them. Startups may not be interested in sharing that information and they have little incentive to do so. They are too busy scaling up or testing the market.
External observers will find it difficult to understand the progress of startups because it is so hard to find objective information.
Skoltech Ph.D. student Maksim Malyy worked at a St. Petersburg startup accelerator before enrolling at Skoltech’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI). While there, Malyy became intrigued by the difficulty in studying startups.
Mally spent three years studying the problem from practical and theoretical perspectives with supervisors Zeljko Tekic and Tatiana Podladchikova. Together, they emerged with valuable insights for tackling the problem of data scarcity on startups. They published some of their findings in the journal.
Maksim clarifies that if they can show that information from Google trends and other internet search traffic information can yield high-quality data on the growth of startups, it will help to address the dearth of data on startup growth.
They selected a large number of companies based in the US. The companies were chosen through a transparent process.
The trio successfully demonstrated that there was a solid correlation between the Google search trends according to the company name and the curves that show company valuations in a chain of investment rounds.
The authors say that with this correlation, Google Trends data can function as a measure of development instead of using information that is not publicly available like sales figures, market share, or employee numbers.
Data from Google Trends is publicly available and easy to gather. This information is publicly available for nearly every company and can be used to generate accurate growth paths for an early-stage company in real-time.
These evolution curves mean that one could look at old answers, pose questions, and come up with more concrete concepts, predictions for the future, and theories.
According to Maksim, the study could impact start-up research in significant ways. Their findings show that this new approach to research could be as good as an X-ray scan for startups. It could offer cheap, non-invasive, and easy ways of understanding how new tech companies work.
Professor Tekic and Podladchikova cited one of their reviewers: “I think this paper will stand the test of time and be useful for many years to come. It truly is a fascinating study.”
Leading the Way to the Workplace of the Future
Hybrid workplaces are a hot topic nowadays. But what comes after the hybrid workplace?
Cameyo is a company that has been a leader in using cloud desktop technology, which has proved superior to Citrix. Cameyo still emphasizes building a working group to focus on defining the future cloud office and what it will entail.
Even in these early-stage efforts, you can still see what elements are still needed. But we can still flesh out what the future digital workspace will need to work.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a downturn in the market over the last year. And this has brought up the one thing that people will need to navigate the future workplace. They will need to be flexible.
We can now look at how things might look in the future.
8 Parts of an Ecosystem
The Digital Workspace Consortium envisions 8 parts of the ecosystem of the future workplace. The first part is cloud-connected virtual desktops. These devices will resemble small PCs or tiny desktop computers which will be only the front end of a desktop that is cloud-hosted.
Part two is the virtual applications on which the cloud desktops will work. These applications will provide the necessary tools for workers to do their jobs either remotely or on-site.
Part three will be Secure Endpoints to facilitate the greatest integrity and to safeguard companies as well as workers from cyber-attacks both local and remote.
Part four will be innovative tools for collaboration between individuals working both on-site and remotely, keeping them cohesive and connected.
Part five will be about Policy and Management policies that ensure units perform optimally and follow consistent rules across organizations.
Part six will be keeping employee skills up to date and addressing interpersonal problems by using critical analytics, as well as monitoring and testing.
Part seven will be print management, to provide better security of printed materials and keep printers in good condition and functioning.
Part eight will be security in part through secure endpoints. This will entail providing physical as well as electronic security by safeguarding company websites and keeping remote employees safe.
These components may seem all-encompassing, but I believe that there are a few more areas that need to be covered. They include site management, employee monitoring, and consumption management, bolstering employee productivity, boosting work/life balance.
These eight components seem pretty complete, though I’d suggest a few more: site management, including auto-provisioning of the workspace; consumption management and reporting (monitoring utility and resource usage to contain costs); employee monitoring; and management efforts to bolster employee productivity and work/life balance. Finally, virtual space management ensures the consistency, compliance (safe workspace), and effectiveness of virtual collaboration spaces as those come online.
What the result looks like to an employee is a remotely managed working experience that is consistent and that allows people to work from any location without disruptions.
Employees working on-site will benefit from a workplace that is provisioned dynamically. Workers can collaborate seamlessly using consistent tools regardless of their location. All employees should have access to the support of their colleagues while working remotely or on-site.
Future houses will be fitted with virtual offices allowing people to work and collaborate with others on projects without having to commute. We doubt this will come earlier than 2030, though.
In conclusion, the future workspace will be more virtual than ever (obviously.) The pandemic has led to more people than ever before taking on remote work.
We already have smart offices equipped with digital technology but we don’t have consistency in the tools we use and how we cooperate in using them.
We believe that the Digital Workspace Consortium should play a leadership role in the conversation about the future workspace. To do this, we will need to address a clear path to market which is the missing link.
The group wants to partner with companies like Dell, Accenture, or Lenovo to lead the way to tackle the challenges of the future workspace.
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