People and Machines: Better Together – Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

 26th March 2019 by gihan

There’s a lot of talk now about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace. But as much as we hear about “robots coming for your jobs”, the reality is that the best workplaces will have people and machines working together.

Employer demand for AI in the workplace has more than doubled over the last three years, and the majority of leaders expect their employees and machines to work as “integrated teams” in the next few years.

The most innovative organisations are combining the unique skills of people and machines to create better workplaces, deliver superior customer experiences, and stay ahead of the game in a fast-changing world.

Choose your level of engagement.

None of us can predict the exact impact of AI in the workplace (or in life in general, for that matter). But, as you see new AI capabilities, decide how to integrate it into your organisation.

Broadly, you can imagine its impact at four levels:

  1. Replace: It completely replaces something you do in your organisation, and makes that function obsolete.
  2. Assist: It helps you improve the way you perform that function, so you can be more efficient or effective.
  3. Elevate: It frees you up from performing that function, so you can do more important things instead.
  4. Leverage: It creates completely new opportunities for you, not just in the functions you already perform, but with completely new products and services.

Don’t automatically go to the “replace” scenario, where AI will replace jobs or make you obsolete. Instead, think of ways it could assist or elevate your current offerings, and consider how you can leverage it even more in the future.

For example, this video shows 10 ways AI will help the people in your organisation:

  1. AI chatbots answer questions instantly in sales, customer service, and internal support.
  2. AI helps HR and recruiters find suitable candidates and identify potential people problems.
  3. AI manages simple, repetitive tasks like scheduling meetings and answering common questions.
  4. AI and IoT devices constantly monitor the workplace to create safer, more productive, and more effective work environments.
  5. AI handles complex repetitive tasks, such as reading and interpreting contracts.
  6. AI records meetings and transcribes conversations to simplify search and retrieval.
  7. AI monitors physical assets and inventory levels to optimise maintenance, ordering stock, and employee workloads.
  8. AI analyses user sentiment on social media and other communication channels.
  9. AI listens to sales calls in real time, and offers coaching tips to salespeople to improve their future calls.
  10. AI integrates with online learning tools to guide employees to improve their learning.

How can AI help YOU?

Consider both the positives and negatives – that is, the opportunities and the threats. The threats might be the long-term effects of this replacing you, and it’s responsible to consider these threats. But also explore the opportunities for it to assist and elevate your organisation, and consider how to leverage it to create entirely new products and services.

Thinking Ahead

To assess the impact of AI in your workplace, ask these three questions:

  1. What AI have you seen that’s seemingly unrelated to your industry but could have an impact?
  2. Do you automatically go to the most limited “replace” scenario, or do you consider “assist” and “elevate” scenarios?
  3. What AI could you leverage into offering something completely different to your customers?

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