“Technology Will Drive Digital Disruption in Future Workplace”

By: Rajnesh De

In an exclusive interaction with Dataquest, Gautam Sinha, CEO Times Internet, talks about the education program from Times Internet, and what will be the socio-economic impact of it. Excerpts:

Q. Can you please give an overview of what this education program from Times Internet is all about and what is the intended messaging?

I will introduce some words here: one is compressed timelines; the other word is a progressive use of technology which includes artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, IoT in the workplace. Third is the socio-demographic dividend; more and more young generation is coming into the workplace and millennials are now going to become managers. They have a very different way to experience work. In fact work is just a component of life for this generation. If you try to look into the future, the important thing is now with all these changes the organizations have to be prepared, the individuals have to be prepared and the ecosystem has to be prepared. The objective of this education program from Times Internet is to bring these discussions and debates in front of the different stakeholders in this ecosystem

Q. What are the main changes once you are in that compressed timelines? What are two or three main aspects where you see those fast changes happening?

Let’s take the example of automation: any easy example of understanding is an autonomous vehicle or a self-driving car. Now at the surface, it looks very simple that car is driving itself but try to understand the implication it will have for the society. If you are not driving you to have time for consuming content, you have time for learning and the additional tension and pressure goes away. So today, if your office is 5 minutes away from your home the commuting time, is almost same whether you drive or not. You can live another 10 miles away from your office and if you are in a self-driving car, time is not wasted and we can commute  faster.

Now these examples are not very obvious but look at the implication of this: if we have less accidents, how does industry change? How does law and order, enforcement, insurance have change owing to this? So the 3rd thing is even if you have few hour of free time in a day kindly do it for productive work as a post of consultant only or as full time engagement; these are all factors which are going to be more prevalent in years to go. So the simple motion of a surviving car will bring better gender equality as you don’t need stress for driving a car from point A to point B, you can use interactional time if you have two hrs a day or four hrs a day you can leverage that and lot of socio changes will happen simply because of autonomous vehicles. Take that into a workplace your company or my company. If you broadly divide,  there are two types of jobs: one is  repetitive jobs and one is creative jobs which is done with emotional intelligence. The job which is repetitive in nature will get automated and will be handed over to machines to be able to do it whichever forms that is mandated; my estimate is about 50 percent of the jobs on the repetitive side will go.

Q. What will be the socio-economic impact of this?

Automation will lead to loss of repetitive jobs in US. Which is happening in US you can’t afford in India now, but in India we will ultimately go in that particular direction where the service will become more expensive, so that you will want to get to automate those kinds of elements. The most important thing is what we teach our children. You have to be ready to learn at all point of time, it doesn’t whether you are a CEO or not if you want to do your best you have to continue to be in learning model. So as an individual you have to be prepared, you know your job is going to be repetitive and it will get taken away without exception. Whether it is a small city or large city some entrepreneur will come and that job will be taken away, so you have to move to higher education or jobs where you need emotional intelligence and creative intelligence which can’t be repeated.

Q. Your another point was on the social dividend part you talked about if that you can explain?

Let’s take an example: truck are driven in India 30 year 40 years ago by very strong people. It was an example that someone who say you can’t drive a truck or if you have heavy motorcycle you have to be a strong person, so that automation does not make a difference. When I went to US I saw small people driving very large vehicles. So strength is no longer competitive differentiation for work. It’s all here in our mind no longer muscles which will make the difference. This allows better diversity in workplace.

Q. Third point is leveraging of different kind of technology like AI how that will use cases of that in digital and future workplace? How would that be recognized?

So I run 40 business for 40 digital clients in different themes and various location; for me it’s very important what is the pulse of the organization or the individuals there now. So I don’t go to managers saying I am doing good   I want to know exactly if someone is not feeling good I would want to know about it. I want to take matches and make sure there is a problem. We deploy this broadly in our organization which continuously manages every person to know how exactly they are feeling 15 days from now or 30 days for now. That feedback is continuously collected by our organization initiative.

Q.  How does this help both employer and Employee interaction in a digital era?

So lots of analytics comes into the data that get presented on a daily basis. This data is very very rich, and captures who is doing well and which manager is treating their employees well. There is dedicated team for analytics for this purpose and the tool itself has lots of analytics. All these information are currently available which otherwise I would have to collect through a manual task force. So every day I get a report on discussion that has happened and who has filled what answers; someone analyses all teams by managers, by mentor, by skills. People are not comfortable talking to people today. So I get daily report the people who have interacted with my bot called emblem. So all question and answers are confidential. Every firm across the company and we have set benchmarks 15 days from joining, 30 days for joining or completions of 1 year get how they are feeling.

Q. What has been in terms of enhancing  emotional quotient of employees as well as leading to their introductory improvements? How has been the effect?

So it’s too early to say that because it need a year of time before you put such benchmarks. There is a metric that comes which we say what’s the happiness quotient of the company through this particular tool. So there we want to see improvement, let’s say for example:- we have 4.2 score today the target of company me and my senior manager targets is to reach 4.6 within 6 month. Then we discussion and say these are the 6 thing which we need to do because these are the comments that has come.

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