Fri, 19 May 2017 13:00:20 GMT
In a world where we now have a conversation with a box in our kitchen to order our groceries, we could be forgiven for thinking that ‘the future’ that Hollywood has been warning us about for years is finally here.
It’s here, and artificial intelligence is weaving its way into our everyday lives at a rate of knots.
But while chat bots and the like make our day-to-day transactions and purchases feel like a walk in the park, what does artificial intelligence really mean for us, as humans?
Did Hollywood have it right? Are we heading towards becoming redundant beings whilst bots take over the world?
Or are we scared for no reason?
At a Publicis Drugstore ‘Future Now’ event held at Publicis UK last week, we listened to four guest speakers who posed the idea, ‘imagine if…human intelligence was artificial’.
And here’s what we found out.
What about us?
Josh Sutton, Head of Data & AI at Sapient Inside, opened with the idea that AI isn’t about tech after all, but about us.
It’s about how we engage with each other and how our society behaves. It’s a response to our ever-growing requirements.
It’s not about ‘new tech’ either. He hit us with the staggering statistic that 49% of tasks we already carry out today could be automated by adapting technology that already exists.
Imagine that? Nearly half of the tasks you’ve carried out today could be automated without having to develop anything new. Surely, we’re heading for the end?
But Josh made the very valid point that our ability to partner with one another is paramount for a successful application of AI.
He highlighted this by focusing on a study that was carried out on using AI to diagnose cancer in lymph node cells.
AI alone misdiagnosed 7.5% of cases. Humans alone misdiagnosed 3% of cases.
When diagnosing in partnership? Only 0.5% were misdiagnosed.
Which brought home the point that we need to work with AI, not against it.
And that we are still very much relevant.
What about work?
When George Zarkadakis, PhD AI, Author, Commentator and Digital Lead – Future of Work at Willis Tower Watson, opened with the statement ‘we’re on the brink of mass corporate extinction’. We could have been forgiven for grabbing our bags and heading for the door.
Every two weeks another company drops off the S&P 500 and companies no longer last for the hundreds of years that they once did.
In this environment, only the innovators will survive and our companies and us need to look for ways to remain relevant in this ever-changing landscape.
George believes that this provides companies with opportunities to embrace AI.
“Companies will have to become agile and lean to survive,” George argued. Implementing AI platforms into the workplace will facilitate this.
AI platforms can resource the best talents and best skill sets at the click of a button. They can help set up simple but effective systems that help improve the culture in a work place.
A simple car-pooling app was an example used to show how AI can make workers' lives easier.
Moreover, they can also enable the work that can be automated to be streamlined and empower effectiveness, leaving the ineffective tasks for the humans…
…back towards the door we go.
Doesn’t sound great when put like that, but it challenges us to look at what could be achieved if the effective tasks were taken off to be automated and we were just left to the stuff that only humans can do.
The thinking stuff. The creative stuff. The big idea stuff.
George’s advice? Stay creative and collaborative. Human’s will always be needed for that.
What about our customers?
Russell Tarr, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Artificial Solutions, highlighted to us that 70% of people are already using a form of AI on a weekly basis.
It’s already an intrinsic part of our customers' lives. They are used to dealing with robots. They understand the benefit, and they are not put off by brands that use them.
What we need to remember is, that no matter how good these robots get, customers will still always want to know that they are not dealing with a human.
Transparency with AI on every level is crucial if we don’t want to lose our customer’s trust.
Both Russell and Johannes Windus, BDM at insurance company Spixii, touched on the power of natural language interaction in AI.
Russell made the argument that we are losing our customers' voices in today’s technology-driven environment. We are not speaking to them across a counter or on the telephone anymore because all of our transactions are made online.
AI and the use of natural language interaction can win this back. We can start to get to know our customers again, how they speak and who they are.
Johannes reinforced this point. He highlighted that we need to be realistic about the chatbot. It may well be replaced as it replaced the app and as apps replaced websites.
It may not be here forever, but while it is let’s use it to learn everything we can about our customers.
Because if there’s one thing we took from the event - AI, or no AI, people will always remain at the heart of what we do.
Maybe it’s not so Hollywood scary after all.
Jo Irwin, Publicis UK