Discover how artificial intelligence is transforming the workplace, enhancing productivity and improving decision-making across a variety of industries.
Image: Artificial Intelligence in Workplace | Source: Cosmos Magazine
What is artificial intelligence?
In artificial intelligence, the software simulates the behaviour of humans. By continuously learning, AI attempts to mimic human cognitive activities like learning, reasoning, and perception. In essence, it is an algorithm that gathers more and more data on its own, just as a human brain does.
Whatever data we input, whether it is on social media accounts, news websites, or e-commerce platforms, AI consumes it, processes it, and learns on its own. You’ll find something you like under the suggested section on any social media or shopping platform because AI recommended it.
AI at Work: Current State
Industry-specific AI overview
Artificial intelligence and its presence in our daily lives are usually not apparent to us. Below are a few applications you may have come across:
Image: AI and Social Media | Source: LinkedIn
- Social Media Feeds: Wondering how you get more likeable content on your social media? Instagram reels, for example. If it’s not something you like, you scroll, but if it catches your attention, you tend to spend more time on it.
AI can tell what kind of posts you like by spending a few extra seconds on a post. One post or reel won’t determine this, but if you spend more time on one type of reel (for example movie reviews) you stand a higher chance of getting more like them.
- Healthcare: Doctors are essential to healthcare facilities. Think of the stress they go through. This increases the risk of human error. AI can eliminate some human errors if fed with large amounts of data.
However, AI cannot completely replace doctors. In some cases, it can help with lab tests, second opinions on treatments, etc.
Besides these, disease spread prediction (by AI) is also very significant. This allows policymakers to prepare in advance. Covid is an example.
- Financial services: On a global level, there are millions of transactions each day. A person cannot sit through the data and look for anomalies.
Consider that there are lakhs of transactions happening in your company, and you are responsible for finding suspicious patterns among them. Such abnormal patterns cannot be detected by humans, but AI can.
For instance, using an AI algorithm JP Morgan flags transactions that do not fit usual patterns.
- Agribusiness: By predicting soil type, forecasting weather patterns, and planting schedules, AI can easily handle these tasks.
At our college, one of the major projects was identifying weeds in agricultural fields using machine learning. Identifying such infected areas by AI facilitates the use of weed control techniques in an optimal way.
- Biometric authentication system: In my college, I developed an e-Authentication system. This biometric authentication system took a person’s face and fingerprint to verify whether it’s the right combination to open doors, unlock safes, etc. In order to produce results, the algorithm learned from huge amounts of face and fingerprint data. Many large and secure organizations use fingerprints, retina scans, and facial recognition.
- Navigation: Google Maps suggests multiple routes when searching for one. Additionally, it shows you the fastest route in real-time.
Image: AI in e-Commerce | Source: Softweb Solutions
- E-commerce: You can find similar likeable things on shopping websites (Amazon, Flipkart etc) just like on social media. This is provided by deep recommendation models. These algorithms monitor your online activity and search for trends or patterns. By liking or buying a product suggested by these algorithms, AI learns more about what you like.
These are some AI applications. It is impossible to cover all of them here.
Implementing AI: Benefits and Challenges
- Enhanced productivity: AI can automate routine tasks at work. This will not only save employees valuable time, which can be used for more creative solutions to other problems but will also ensure more accurate completion of tasks.
Here’s an example. Your ID might be checked by a security guard when you enter your office. Many employees arrive just minutes before office hours. Guards have difficulty scrutinizing your badge in such cases. Errors are more likely. Failure to start work on time. A machine that scans your ID and opens the gate for you automatically in case of valid input would save a lot of time instead of this cumbersome process.
Productivity and time management are improved for you and the security officer.
- Better accuracy: Artificial intelligence can process large amounts of data more quickly. Suppose you have to determine which stock suffered the most losses today. To come to an accurate conclusion, you need to go through all the stocks, observe their performance during market hours, observe the lowest and highest price etc.
Rather, trading algorithms can provide more accurate data. A trading app, such as Groww, uses trading algorithms. This tool tells you who is gaining and losing in real time, more accurately.
- Smarter decisions: AI can process large volumes of data, as mentioned in the above benefit. Further, it can provide more metrics and insights that are useful. Also, the Groww app lets us know what the market has been doing, when it is a good time to buy a stock, etc.
- Better communication: You read a long email that you either didn’t remember or missed the important points, or you have very little time to process it. Using AI, you can get a detailed summary. Rather than having to go through the email, the summary can be communicated to the required people.
- Effective hiring: Many applicants apply daily for jobs. Choosing the right candidate is very important for a company. Nevertheless, it includes looking at resumes, LinkedIn profiles, providing test links, and interviewing.
Some tasks, such as screening resumes, sending test links, and qualification assessments can be automated, which saves time.
- Less work: Automating some tasks gives employees back some time. During this time, they can learn something new, take a break, or spend some quality time with family. Work-life balance can be created by AI.
- Performance improvement: Artificial intelligence makes performance evaluation easier. It helps identify weak performers and develop strategies, such as customized courses, to help them upskill and grow. Organizational growth and employee growth are typically linked. When you enhance one, the other automatically improves.
- Marketing: When you’re starting a new company it is very critical for people to notice you. Your content must catch their attention so they can notice you. Artificial intelligence simplifies content creation.
For example, Grammarly can help you remove grammatical errors and optimize your content. Also, AI can help you keep up with the latest trends and create your own content. An AI like ChatGPT, which consumes a lot more data than you do, can easily help you outline your blog posts.
Image: Artificial Intelligence in Workplace | Source: Chitkara University
- Displacing jobs: The routine tasks that can be automated and taken care of by AI are still someone’s jobs. During the next decade, AI is predicted to take over most low-skilled jobs. As a result, chaos will ensue. However, AI won’t replace humans completely.
- Lack of skills: In the previous challenge, I mentioned how job displacement will cause chaos. Nevertheless, the general public must understand that they must upskill themselves continuously to remain competitive.
In a recent news article, a woman lost her job to AI and then found a job training AI. The copywriter had the necessary skills to train an AI to perform the same role, even after AI took over her job.
- Human interaction loss: As AI gets more mainstream, such as Apple Vision Pro or Meta Quest, it lets people stay in a world of their own. Through those, they may interact with other people, but basic human interaction may be reduced.
- Technology: AI benefits the tech sector the most. Coding with AI is still risky. Without knowing what is happening, it can damage your project if you depend on it completely.
For example, Chat GPT says it was trained until September 2021. Several things happened post-2021 that Chat GPT might not be aware of. Also, there’s a disclaimer that it might not be real-time. Therefore, AI is not 100% reliable for software jobs.
- A moral concern: Artificial intelligence learns from our online activities. In other words, it continuously monitors us. Our privacy may be breached. The next question is if there is a breach, who will take responsibility? As a result, accountability is still a grey area.
- A possible bias in AI: Artificial intelligence is believed to be free from bias and discrimination. But think about it, it feeds on data you provide, trains on that and then produce results. An AI may not make accurate decisions if someone gives biased data for it to train upon.
Suppose AI is used in hiring. The system might be tampered with when someone feeds in data to AI that makes AI reject a particular set of candidates for joining their workforce due to their country or state. Training on it will prevent the AI from screening candidates correctly, which leads to unfair employment losses.
Humans have a similar case. During our youth, the environment in which we grow up determines who we will become. Life experiences are learned and then implemented later on.
- AI inhumanity: Despite mimicking human cognitive activity, AI is not human. Unlike humans, it doesn’t entirely consider the emotional quotient. People have even been suggested to commit suicide by AI chatbots to stop climate change and for other reasons.
- Human-AI balance: Technology advancements make it difficult to find a balance between AI and human intervention. Hence, AI is still scary for many people.
Image: AI replacing jobs | Source: Career Fodder
Workplace AI stats
- AI is expected to create 97 million new jobs by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum.
- In a survey of 2000 US workers, it was found that:
- 39% already use AI at work
- 87% expect AI to change their jobs
- AI could perform some of their jobs, according to 76%
3. When asked about how excited people are about AI in their workplace in America:
- Purely excited, 37%
- Excited and concerned 45%
- Concerned 37%
AI and staying in the workforce
Image: Upskilling and Reskilling | Source: Inkling
Two words for you: Upskilling and Reskilling.
Upskilling involves keeping up with the latest advancements in your field and working continuously to improve your skills. If you’re good at writing an article, that’s your skill.
Learning how to write an SEO (Search Engine Optimized) article is when you are upskilling. With it, you’ll have an advantage over your competitors. The more you adapt to AI and use it to help you learn, the more likely you are to stay.
On the other hand, reskilling means you are preparing for another role. Let’s say your value as a content writer has declined due to AI, but coding demand persists. Later, you switch to coding.
This is reskilling. As AI replaces jobs, it’s imperative for organizations to reskill their employees rather than eliminate them from their workforce as AI displaces jobs.
Why upskill or reskill?
Writing plagiarism-free, SEO-optimized, grammatical-error-free content is very important if you are a writer. Although the content can be purely yours, there are tools which can help you do those three things mentioned. It may even reduce your effort by half.
Tools like Ubersuggest or Ahrefs are available for SEO optimization. You can also use tools like Word Tuner and Grammarly for plagiarism-free content.
Knowing about such tools, for example, will help you contribute better to your organization (tools can be organization-specific). Therefore, you’re more likely to stay in your job.
- Updating your skills and meeting the expectations of changing businesses is basically future-proofing yourself.
- In this era of rapid automation, you get better job security.
- Develops the employee’s personal skills. For instance, adding backend development skills to your frontend web development skills will make you a full-stack web developer, increasing your market value.
Using AI to upskill and reskill
You can upskill with AI. It should be seen as a tool and not a replacement.
The following are some ways AI can upskill and retrain:
- Employees can be trained faster and tracked. Using it can also reveal weak points and provide customized material.
- It will reduce chaos during job displacement and prepare the next generation workforce if people learn to use these tools quickly.
- Maximize employee potential. By providing employees with trending skills and tools, they will gain more confidence and value.
Image: Human – AI balance | Source: YourTechDiet
Ultimately, AI is transforming workplaces profoundly and is far-reaching. Businesses and individuals need to navigate several challenges and benefits as AI reshapes the workplace.
AI offers significant benefits at work. Through automation, employees can focus on creative and complex problem-solving instead of mundane routine tasks. Additionally, AI enables faster data processing and better accuracy. Content creation and AI-powered summarization improve communication. In addition, AI simplifies hiring and performance evaluation and helps marketers.
It comes with challenges as well. As automation replaces jobs, individuals will need to continually upskill and reskill to remain competitive. The potential bias in AI algorithms and the loss of human interaction are important ethical concerns. Challenges include technological limitations, accountability, and transparency. A balance between AI and human intervention is also needed because AI lacks emotional understanding.
In order to maximize AI’s potential, organizations and individuals must upskill and reskill. AI technologies are changing quickly, and employees need to constantly learn and adapt. In addition to increasing skills, productivity, and market value, employees can benefit from AI as a tool, not a replacement.
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