Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is the most important thing on the planet right now. The potential of A.I. for both positive and negative disruption is absolutely huge.
We need to get ready for humans and machines co-existing in the workplace.
The challenge of A.I. presents is how we codify human behaviour into elements that can be performed by machines. Everyone needs to think through what is it that technology can do really well and really cheaply, and get the humans to focus on the stuff that the technology can’t do.
For example in contact centres, the majority of the tier one calls contact centres take can be handled very simply by an algorithm, as some organisations are already doing, but the real tricky tier three calls need to be handled by human beings.
Combining humans and machines
If organisations are going to get the best out of the A.I. opportunity, they should be looking to get the best human capability that matches with the best digital capability.
There are many jobs that only humans can do. Creativity, local services, roles where things are ambiguous. Algorithms aren’t going to be good enough to answer the phone for decades to come.
So we will need to find the balance. It will only work if we get human and machine work together in unison.
The challenge of A.I. is finding the right blend of humanity and technology for your organisation. In some businesses this may be 50:50, in others it could be 20:80 either way.
- In science fiction Artificial Intelligence can often have negative connotations. Is it possible that A.I. may change society for the worse?
It is theoretically possible, but I think we tend to overestimate how quickly that might happen. A.I. being able to do things shown in The Terminator or Minority Report is still decades away.
Lots of really clever people are spending a lot of time working both in the technology industry and with the governments around the world to minimise the risk and prevent the technology being abused or exploited. There is a duty of care we all have to make sure we do it in a way that is appropriate and sensible to mitigate the potential for harm.
If we get it right, A.I. will be the fundamental to our survival as a race. In this century it should enable us to cure cancer, to solve problems of poverty and possibly world hunger.
- Who is doing well with A.I. right now?
Tricky question to answer. Nobody is doing it universally well, but there are some interesting examples.
The likes of Microsoft, Google or Facebook are building intelligent agents to work on their behalf. Siri and Cortana are examples of artificial agents trying to understand the human they look after, and deliver value to the human based on their actions – creating an individual experience for the user.
The company that manufactures 80% of the world’s elevators use A.I. technology to predict failure before it happens. This is a great use as customers don’t get hurt because they can schedule check-ups in time.
The healthcare industry has a lot of examples which we are beginning to see. Microsoft has been working with the oncology department at Addenbrooke hospital in Cambridge to use A.I.-based image recognition to analyse medical imagery.
The average time to analyse an image is typically done by a consultant and will take about three hours, but we can now do it with algorithms in 30 minutes.
The genius of this example is that as the machine can handle the image processing, doctors can spend more time with their patients – that’s something human can but machine can’t do.
Consultants now have extra 2.5 hour that they use to stay with the patients. That’s really the potential of A.I. that is to allow human to deliver what human is best to do, a great example of how the human-technology partnership should work.
Make sure you don’t miss Dave Coplin’s keynote at Customer Contact Expo on 29th September 2016. Register for free here.