Research firm Gartner predicts that emerging technologies will reduce barrier to access; also predicts 89% higher retention in such jobs, 72% boost in productivity

There is good news for people with disabilities on the job front, thanks largely to emerging technologies.

Research firm Gartner has predicted that by 2023, the number of those people employed will triple due to artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies, reducing barriers to access.

“People with disabilities constitute an untapped pool of critically skilled talent,” said Daryl Plummer, distinguished vice president and Gartner Fellow, adding, “AI, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and other emerging technologies have made work more accessible for employees with disabilities.”

For example, Plummer said, select restaurants are starting to pilot AI robotics technology that enables paralysed employees to control robotic waiters remotely.

Organisations that actively employ people with disabilities will not only cultivate goodwill from their communities, but also see 89 per cent higher retention rates, a 72 per cent increase in employee productivity, and a 29 per cent increase in profitability, he added.

According to Gartner’s top strategic predictions for 2020 and beyond, artificial emotional intelligence (AEI) is the next frontier for AI development, especially for companies hoping to detect emotions in order to influence buying decisions.

Twenty-eight per cent of marketers ranked AI and machine learning (ML) among the top three technologies that will drive future marketing impact, and 87 per cent of marketing organisations are currently pursuing some level of personalisation, said Gartner.

Computer vision, which allows AI to identify and interpret physical environments, is one of the key technologies used for emotion recognition and has been ranked by Gartner as one of the most important technologies in the next three to five years. Gartner said that through facial recognition, location tracking and big data, organisations are starting to monitor individual behaviour and link that behaviour to other digital actions, like buying a train ticket.

The Internet of Things (IoT) where physical things are directed to do a certain thing based on a set of observed operating parameters relative to a desired set of operating parameters is now being extended to people, known as the Internet of Behaviour (IoB), the firm said.

Said Plummer, “With IoB, value judgements are applied to behavioural events to create a desired state of behaviour. Over the long term, it is likely that almost everyone living in a modern society will be exposed to some form of IoB that melds with cultural and legal norms of our existing predigital societies.”