Seven ways AI will impact future workplaces

By Peter Andrew / Corporate Real Estate Journal | December 23, 2018 8:00 AM SGT
This article is condensed from ‘Nine Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Changing How and Where We Work’ by Peter Andrew, Senior Director, Advisory and Transaction Services, Occupier, CBRE. It was originally published in Corporate Real Estate Journal (Vol 8, No 1) in September 2018.
To the pessimist, artificial intelligence is associated with terrifying and dystopian scenarios, in which machines replace (and eventually overtake) humans. To the optimist, AI is an amazing tool that, when used appropriately, can dramatically improve the way humans work and live.
As AI starts to become more integrated into our work environment, it is worth exploring the different ways in which it will transform the workplace as we know it. In technology- driven “smart cities” such as Singapore, these transformations are likely to happen sooner rather than later.
Managing volatility and forecasting space
AI is both a cause of the problem and a potential part of the solution. As a cause, AI is resetting how we think about human labour. At this point in time, very few people really know how AI will impact organisations or how quickly it will replace, modify or destroy jobs. Business leaders are confronted with the challenge of unpredictable future headcounts and traditional rules of thumb for forecasting labour needs are no longer valid.
As AI platforms become more sophisticated, they will eventually start managing workflows and job creation in organisations (they are already doing that in some leading organisations). Ultimately, these platforms will be better equipped than humans to understand headcount volatility and predict long-term trends, allowing for smarter real estate strategies. AI will not stop unpredictability, but will help us understand and manage it better.
So, AI is causing us headcount headaches today, but it will take time before it steps in to help sort out the problem it has created. Until then, there are currently two approaches to managing volatility in an organisation’s lease — through hot-desking or activity-based working; or having a core leased space, supplemented by short and/or long-term access to serviced offices or co-working space.
Organising our daily life
The most obvious and...