AI within the taskforce: Worrying or enhancing?

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Concerns about AI technology, in general terms, boil down to the quantity and areas in which it’s used to replace human tasks. Establishing the limitations of AI and unique skills innate to humans, provides insight into its future application, and alleviates some of the worry that one day AI will take over the taskforce.

Automation is only sufficient if it equates to, or outperforms, tasks usually undergone by humans. Some tasks are easy to automate, others, are not. In business, where success of a product or service hinges on customer experience and satisfaction, automation must provide as good, if not better, customer service. Psychological scientists, through identifying human conversation as a prime task almost impossible to automate, have a strong case against AI. Conversation, an area integral to many jobs, is unpredictable, endearing, empathic and complex, and has the power to make peace with many a dissatisfied customer, or engage many a disinterested lead. People buy into products and services yes, but they also buy into people massively. AI as an enhancement, not replacement of, the human task force, is proven by its suitability in ‘proficient’ roles: where higher performance doesn’t yield higher value, such as an airline pilot, and unsuitability in ‘pivotal’ roles: where higher performance yields higher value, such as a creative director or waitress.

We are least conscious of what our brains do best, and the jobs that require conversation or other distinctive features such as creativity, innovation, collaboration or emotional skills, will never be fully replaced. They can only be augmented and enhanced with the impressive speeds at which AI can perform jobs like processing, obeying rules, and data analysis seen in pattern recognition, following processes, and high-level reasoning. Computer scientist Hans Moravec stated: “It is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility”.

There are many ways artificial intelligence already enhances our lives, inside and outside of business. Flying the flag for AI in the health sector are the likes of Palliate AI, who work to give some independence back to Dementia sufferers and tools for carers, through voice assistance that’s built in with revolutionary natural language processing and APIs. Businesses automating processes for efficiency, are Grey Parrot, where AI identifies different types of waste that could revolutionise waste management; Think Sense AI, who uses Robotic Process Automation to streamline processes; and Uhura Solutions, who automate analysing and managing of contracts and agreements. In terms of data analysis, Codec brings AI-powered insights to accurately engage target audiences, while websites and phone apps are equipped with algorithms to spot patterns in behavioural data, which are then used to personalise experiences. When Amazon remembers my purchase behaviour and makes a suggestion, that sometimes convenient, but too much analysis into predicting what we want before we know we want it, can often teeter on intrusive, where customer trust and satisfaction can be lost. In this case, collaboration with a human touch, to set ethical boundaries and guage what’s appropriate, is an example of where AI and humans are most efficient, together.

Utilising the distinctive strengths between AI and human beings, and combining AI’s reliable, analytical brain with humans’  emotional and creative one, is the symbiotic capacity in which the future of tech can be most effective.