To many, artificial intelligence (AI) is seen as a threat, but is it really?
AI refers to the ability of machines to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving and decision-making. It is a rapidly growing field of computer science that focuses on creating intelligent machines that can think and act like humans. AI has been around for decades, but recent advances in technology have made it more accessible than ever before.
AI systems are designed to learn from their environment, analyse data, and make decisions without human intervention. And AI can be used for a wide range of tasks, from playing games to driving cars.
AI is expected to reach “expert level” within twelve months. Microsoft is currently integrating AI into its platform such as Power Automate, Power BI and ChatGPT, so it is important we understand how this will change the workplace environment.
Key benefits of embracing AI
The general benefit of artificial intelligence, or AI, is that it replicates decisions and actions of humans without human shortcomings, such as fatigue, emotion, and limited time. Machines driven by AI technology can perform consistent, repetitious actions without getting tired. It is also easier for companies to get consistent performance across multiple AI machines than it is across multiple human workers.
If you ask an AI programme to explain how AI is changing the workplace, it will summarise the benefits as:
- Automation: AI powered automation is replacing repetitive and mundane tasks, enabling employees to focus on more complex and creative work.
- Decision-making support: AI systems can process vast amounts of data and provide valuable insights, aiding the decision-making process by analysing data patterns and trends.
- Enhanced productivity: AI technologies such as chatbots, virtual assistants and workflow optimisation tools improve productivity by streaming workflows, managing schedules, and offering real-time assistance.
- Personalised experiences: AI enables organisations to deliver personalised experiences to customers and employees, by leveraging machine learning algorithms. AI systems can analyse user preferences, behaviour and historical data to provide tailored recommendations, customised marketing campaigns and personalised learning experiences.
- Augmented creativity: AI tools are empowering employees by augmenting their creativity and problem-solving skills. AI algorithms can generate ideas, suggest design improvements, and assist in product development.
- Improved customer service: AI powered chatbots and virtual assistants are being used to enhance customer service experiences. They can provide instant responses to frequently asked questions, resolve basic customer issues and direct complex queries to human agents.
- Workplace upskilling: As AI technology evolves, there is a growing need for upskilling and reskilling the workforce. Organisations are investing in training programmes to equip employees with the necessary skills to work alongside AI systems effectively. Soft skills or “people skills”, which include good communication and interpersonal skills, together with effective leadership and teamwork become even more important.
- Ethical considerations: The integration of AI in the workplace raises ethical considerations related to privacy, bias, and accountability. Organisations need to establish guidelines and policies to ensure ethical and responsible AI use, addressing such issues as data privacy, algorithmic fairness, and transparency.