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Artificial Intelligence in the workplace
AI is changing every aspect of our lives including our working lives. Soon even those who don’t work for technology companies will find AI ever more present in their working environment. AI will play an increasingly prominent role from how we are recruited to onboarding, job training, marketing and customer service and data analysis. It allows workers to solve complex problems, exercise creativity and focus on getting impactful work done as it takes care of the mundane, repetitive tasks that would otherwise take up a lot of time. In other words, AI allows modern workers to focus on the most engaging parts of their jobs while making their companies more productive and effective.
This blog post runs through the ways in which AI is transforming the workplace for the better:
Eliminates repetitive administrative tasks
There are many tasks that workers spend a lot of time on that add very little value to their company. For example, say you need to schedule a meeting to get consensus on a decision before moving forward, but to do this you need 5 people to agree on a time and date- a seemingly impossible task, right? Workers can end up spending hours sending emails back and forth to find an appropriate time. AI can help with performing administrative tasks like scheduling, rescheduling, and cancelling meetings, freeing up workers time for more productive tasks.
Onboarding and Training
Chatbots are the current tool of choice used to help new hires settle into their roles and get to grips with the various facets of the organisations they’ve joined. Unilever uses a chatbot called Unabot that employs natural language processing (NLP) to answer employees’ questions in a simple human language. This could be anything from payroll issues, how to get to the office and other HR questions.
However, settling in is only the start of the learning process at any company. In the future, AI technologies are likely to play a key role in the training of most employees. AI coaching tools learn by observing how different employees conduct specific tasks. They can then walk new employees through how to complete those tasks – or even coach existing employees on how to do things more effectively and efficiently.
For example, Cogito combines AI with behavioural science to help customer service employees provide better phone support. Its monitors' phone calls for voice signals, providing real-time suggestions to the representative on how to improve the conversation.
Business data and analytics
It’s impossible to run a business without data. Even once you obtain the data you will need someone to read through it and provide valuable insights – a job which can take a lot of time. Good data scientist are highly desirable and therefore, hard to come by in today’s economy. One of the key benefits of AI is that it helps a business decipher their data and gain valuable insights without the need for a data scientist. AI tools can help identify important changes in pattern, isolate trends, create detailed reports and much more. Data analysis requires a lot of time and manual effort, AI therefore helps unlock the employee’s full potential by freeing up their time.
One of the main criticisms of AI is that it will replace humans and lead to job losses. However, one of the key concepts of AI is that it will help workers do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them. Tools provided by People Dor or Betterworks can help companies become more effective by monitoring workflows and processes and making intelligent suggestions about how things should be done. This is often referred to as robotic process automation (RPA).
An augmented workforce can result in increased productivity across many departments in most businesses. When you don’t have to scroll through calendars to organise meetings, build reports in spreadsheets to analyse data, or spend your day answering the same questions repeatedly, you can be much more productive. It takes over the mundane aspects of work, leaving workers free to what humans do best – tasks which require creativity and interaction with other humans.
So, What does AI means for the future of the workplace
“While some will dramatize the negative impacts of AI, cognitive computing and robotics, these powerful tools will also help create new jobs, boost productivity and allow workers to focus on the human aspects of work." – Deloitte 2017 Future of Work report
Whilst it is likely that AI will soon replace the jobs of lower-skilled workers in admin and basic problem-solving roles. Many business and individuals are optimistic that AI will create more jobs than it eliminates. As we develop new innovative technologies, AI will have a positive impact on our economy creating jobs that require a new skill set to implement these new systems. Overall resulting in organisations benefiting from increased productivity and revenue.
Furthermore, although many argue that AI is removing workers of their jobs as they are being replaced by machines, some say that AI is actually making the workforce more human. Artificial Intelligence allows workers to focus on more social tasks like customer experience, employee engagement and workplace culture, essentially transforming the workplace into a more human environment with greater levels of interaction.
If you enjoyed reading this blog post make sure you also check out our other blogs to do with AI 'How does Sitecore AI and Automated Personalisation benefit marketers' and 'Microsoft and Artificial Intelligence.'
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