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Future of Work

Your weekly CogX briefing on HR tech, automation, and the workplace
The week's developments on automation & the workplace, explained | 5.02.24

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This week, a new survey conducted by online marketplace Fiverr reveals a striking shift in the work preferences of Gen Z. Polling over 10,000 individuals aged 16-26 across the UK, US, France, and Germany, the study found that over two-thirds (70%) of respondents are turning away from traditional jobs in favour of freelancing and side hustles. (Fears over AI, layoffs, and a soaring cost of living were among the key drivers of this trend)

Elsewhere, EY’s Rodrigo Madanes offers insights on the economic feasibility of scaling up AI infrastructure, a new report suggests that AI could be the driving force behind the four-day workweek and Swedish fintech Klarna sparked controversy after announcing their AI assistant can handle the work of 700 employees, following… you guessed it, the layoff of 700 of its staff members.

Find these stories and more below — including how AI is set to transform 75% of the banking world, and the economies set to benefit most (and least) from AI, ranked.



CogX Must Reads


Top Stories

📈 Is GenAI’s infrastructure spend justified by future productivity gains? 

Generative AI is booming - but so are the sky-high costs of building its tech infrastructure. The question being asked by experts is, will it pay off?


The cost:

  • $200 billion - estimated global investment in GenAI infrastructure by 2025.

  • High costs of building and running GenAI tools (e.g., GPUs, energy).

The potential payoff:

  • Productivity gains of 20-50% - justifying the investment for companies.

  • Overall economic growth across various industries.

According to Rodrigo Madanes, Global Innovation AI Officer at EY, while the economics of AI infrastructure are sound, they do not guarantee success. To be successful in an AI-driven world, Madanes says, we must be intentional, proactive, and mindful of the costs. (Forbes)


🤖 Klarna AI bot is doing the work of 700 employees? Following a 2022 layoff of 700 workers, the Swedish fintech firm released data showcasing its new AI virtual assistant's capacity to handle a workload equivalent to the number of roles cut – critics don’t think it’s a coincidence. (FastCompany)


🧑‍💼 AI could make the four-day workweek inevitable. Companies using AI extensively are significantly more likely to be open to the four-day workweek (93%) compared to those without (48%). However, AI isn't the sole factor, organisational culture, experts say, will likely also play a crucial role. (BBC)


💸 Not all economies are created equal when it comes to the impact of AI on productivity. While the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and parts of the Nordics are expected to reap the most benefits, emerging markets (particularly those outside of Asia) might find themselves lagging. Find the full list here: Finimize


Future of the Office

🏛️ The future of banking is taking shape, and it heavily involves AI. A new study by Accenture predicts that up to 75% of bank employee time will be impacted by AI. This means major changes are on the horizon for the banking industry, which the study claims has the most to gain from AI compared to other sectors. (Bloomberg)


🧑🏻‍💻 Gen Z turning their backs on traditional Jobs, survey finds. Faced with anxieties about AI, layoffs, and a soaring cost of living, over 70% of Gen Z workers are turning their backs on traditional 9-to-5 jobs and embracing freelancing and side hustles. (Fortune)



AI & Automation

🫤 The "use it or lose it" problem with AI: Imagine relying so heavily on GPS that you forget how to read a map, or trusting autopilot so much that you wouldn't know how to fly manually. This isn't sci-fi, but a potential consequence of relying on AI to do most jobs. (The Conversation)


👨🏻‍🔬 AI-powered "Robot Scientists" will surpass their human counterparts by 2050, says Cambridge's professor Ross King. He believes that these AI systems, working alongside automated lab equipment, may hold the key to solving humanity's most pressing challenges. (University of Cambridge)



Productivity Boosters

 Check out this week's top AI tools to supercharge your productivity

Saner.AI amplifies learning and productivity by transforming personal knowledge management with AI-powered features for idea capture, document digestion, and dot-connecting.


Key features: 

  • Personal knowledge management

  • Idea and thought organisation

  • PDF and note summarisation

                                      Pricing Model: Not disclosed

Onvo AI simplifies dashboard creation and data visualisation with an AI-powered SDK connecting data sources into interactive reports and custom insights within minutes.


Key features: 


  • Dashboard and report builder all-in-one

  • Integration for SQL, NoSQL, API data sources

  • Automated data modelling and relationship mapping

                                                     Pricing Model: Paid

SkimAI brings intelligent email management to busy professionals through AI for summarisation, drafts, and sorting - saving hours of inbox triage and response time each day.


Key features: 

  • AI-powered email assistant

  • Summarises unread emails

  • Drafts ready-to-send responses

                                      Pricing Model: Not disclosed


In case you missed it

Ever feel like you're struggling against the chatbot rather than working together? You're not the only one. Here are the common pitfalls users encounter, and what you can do to avoid them:

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute financial, investment, legal or tax advice.

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