Scenario No. 1: Minibot proliferation
Machine capabilities are limited, but humans are comfortable with the presence of large numbers of simple, focused machines.
Recommendations: Build sticky relationships with highly skilled talent. Invest heavily in bot support, skills upgrades and other elements of the employee value proposition.
Scenario No. 2: I'd rather have a bot for it
AI drives both software- and hardware-centric bots that surround people in their day-to-day lives, making machines widely accepted throughout society.
Recommendations: Manage robots and virtual assistant resources to maximize productivity, with continual reassessment and reprovisioning of these assets. Optimize cybersecurity capabilities to fend off threats and produce competitive advantage.
Scenario No. 3: Bots go bad
Highly capable machines are present, but rejected by humans. Humans are effectively in an ongoing conflict with machines, which operate outside the boundaries of society and the law. This is the darkest scenario.
Recommendations: Invest heavily in risk management capabilities, including cybersecurity, to increase resilience amid uncertainty. Build trusted networks of employees and workers who are aligned to a common higher-level purpose.
Scenario No. 4: Bots can't drive
Machines are not always reliable, sometimes unsafe and can't be trusted to make important decisions. Humans largely reject the presence of machines in their lives and offices.
Recommendations: Create a strong governance policy for the use of machines. Develop "bot master" certification programs. Update ethics and value statements that can be used as a tool for communicating machine guidelines. Purchase robot insurance to protect against damaging failures.
Read more: 6 Ways the Workplace Will Change in the Next 10 Years
"We urge C-level executives to consider particular scenarios not in terms of whether the scenario is 'good' or 'bad,' but in terms of who wins and who loses, and what is won or lost," says Poitevin.
"It is critical that CIOs discuss with the boards of directors which elements in each scenario are desirable and undesirable, and make sure the desirable elements happen and the undesirable don't. This, in turn, will lead to a fifth scenario — the reality we will create."