This piece was originally published on the Cornerstone Blog.
Today we are inundated with articles, interviews and Tweets about artificial intelligence (AI) from people who aren’t aware of the technological reality. They simply shamelessly tap into an imaginary world of competition and submission in order to generate more and more emotion and clicks.
As an AI expert, I wish to shed some light on what is involved in the development of these new tools, which may turn out to be more human than one might think. Because the reality is: what we call artificial intelligence is just a succession of specialised tools, each one dedicated to the optimisation of a single repetitive task. A classic example is medical imaging, where an algorithm will analyse hundreds of images for a specific cancer in order to propose a diagnosis to the doctor. AI is nothing more than what we decide to make it.
A human technology that has the potential to relieve employees of daunting tasks…
Above all, AI makes it possible to automate often repetitive, sometimes thankless, actions that were previously carried out by employees. We must put an end to the preconceived idea that we would put the majority of human activity in a company into the hands of machines. AI must be approached as a technological opportunity that frees up employees’ time and helps them to make decisions.
…and to bring value to employees and the company
Employees will therefore be able to concentrate on other, more “human” tasks, where they will have more added value. On the one hand, they will be able to focus on their creativity, innovation and analysis; on the other hand, they will be able to devote themselves to human relationships and communication, whether internal or external. For example, a nurse will be able to spend more time with her patients. In this way, AI gives back meaning to work, an essential demand from younger generations.
A phenomenon that will increase with the maturity of the technology
Opaque in its operation, AI is a tool that requires interaction in certain aspects similar to that between humans. The solutions known to the general public are still far off from maturity. Indeed, the main goal of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) is to keep users captive by not providing them with steering tools or justification. However, it is necessary to ensure that humans and AI understand each other on both the questions and the answers! Collaboration with humans is a crucial issue for enterprise solutions, the progress of which will positively affect the reality of work.
Let’s not be naïve, job losses caused by AI will occur. But the reality will be far from the predictions of some think tanks or theorists announcing the elimination of 30% to 90% of current jobs. Humans are far from having lost their place in business. With the development of AI solutions at work, employees will turn to more rewarding activities and goals for more fulfilling careers.
To learn more about why an employee-centric approach to advancing AI in the workplace matters, download our whitepaper: Realizing the True Potential of AI in HR.