Remember the time machine in the movie “Back to the Future”? That’s one example of artificial intelligence, that’s probably not coming to fruition any time soon. Do you ask Siri for directions or summon Alexa or Cortana each morning to find out what the weather forecast is for the day to come? Those are examples of artificial intelligence (AI) that aren’t only here but have reached mainstream appeal.
Artificial intelligence is changing the way we interact with technology at home. It’s poised to revolutionize the way we interact with technology at work, too. In fact, it’s poised to revolutionize the way we perform our jobs entirely.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence is the computer science discipline devoted to creating intelligent machines that act and work like humans. These machines (like Siri and Alexa) recognize human speech – and respond intelligently. They’re capable of learning, solving problems, planning, and even manipulating and moving objects (i.e.: the Roomba vacuum cleaner that forges a path around obstacles.)
How Can Offices Benefit from Using AI?
Is there such a thing as an ideal coworker? Perhaps. Visionaries believe that ideal coworkers are digital coworkers (i.e.: smart machines that listen, deliver, and anticipate — and are reliable and never complain.) One recent study found that fewer than 3% of IT pros routinely use AI in the workplace. But, nearly half say they plan to adopt AI assistants, machine learning, or business analytics that embrace AI.
The benefits of AI in the workplace are simple.
- AI can increase efficiency and productivity – machines don’t get distracted or take sick days.
- AI can decrease the need for humans to perform “old-school” manual tasks like keyboarding – intelligent machines know what you’re saying and type it for you, freeing you to do things only humans can do like interacting with clients.
- AI delivers superior analytics – machines aren’t subject to human error or biases.
What Does AI Mean for the Future of Business?
The role AI will take on in businesses in the future depends largely on how humans view it. MetLife conducted a study in 2018 to test the waters, so to speak, and find out what intelligent humans think about intelligent machines. More than half of respondents were optimistic about the potential of AI to benefit business. Only 20% expressed pessimism about AI’s potential impact on business.
Simply put, what AI means for the future of business is that many critical tasks currently assigned to humans may be shifted to smart machines. On the surface, that may sound unnerving (Will a machine do my job better and make me disposable?) However, AI is simply a tool that will allow humans to focus their time and attention on innovating and creating, rather than addressing red tape and performing autopilot tasks.
In the future, AI could benefit businesses by:
- Detecting fraud by identifying patterns and abnormalities
- Assessing, via face and voice analysis, the trustworthiness and capability of job candidates or potential partners
- Using the same face and voice analysis to improve customer service
- Crunching numbers faster and with extreme accuracy
- Automating processes, freeing up humans for more important face-to-face interactions
At a minimum, Artificial Intelligence promises to automate mundane tasks so humans can focus on strategic initiatives. Instead of fearing the future, smart businesses will embrace it. Artificial intelligence allows humans with real intelligence to focus on creating, rather than replicating and analyzing.
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