Artificial Intelligence (AI) has inspired sci-fi for decades — from Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot to HBO’s Westworld, but it already bolsters business functions traditionally reserved for flesh and blood employees.
So here are five ways AI could transform business — prepare for the rise of the machines.
Ray Dalio’s ‘radical transparency’ revolutionised C-suite accountability at Bridgewater Associates. Managers at the $160 billion hedge fund must defend the logic behind business decisions to all staff. And there’s no pulling rank — staff are contractually obliged to challenge bosses and their own teammates, but his Principles Operating System will transform management even more.
Developed by former IBM Watson stalwart David Ferrucci, it applies data science principles to decision-making by drawing on rich data from personality tests and meeting polls.
Dalio envisages this ‘Book of the Future’ making three quarters of management decisions within five years.
Even the most nervous luddites may never have feared the insurance sector was ripe for an AI invasion.
Sales jobs have been safe thanks to complex assessment criteria and comprehensive health data combining to make human interaction crucial, but U.S. start-up Lapetus uses customer selfies to scan for age, BMI and health issues in a process completed in a few minutes.
And the resultant life expectancy predictions are even more accurate than those gathered from traditional methods.
Many firms already use efficient human resource software to manage payroll, talent management and analytics, but AI can free HR staff from mundane clerical tasks to focus on empathy and emotional intelligence — skills that support a happier and productive workforce.
HR staff can also closely monitor AI data to take preventative measures to reduce staff stress and physical illness.
MIT researchers recognise that humans still display more refined judgement skills than machines — providing emotional support, coaching and making values-based decisions. But when it comes to prediction, AI already assists managers to hire better staff and forecast market demand. And it can also be applied to tasks as diverse as driving and image recognition.
So AI may sway managers to staff training that develops better judgement skills while precise predictions are left to machines.
In terms of wider strategy it allow firms in strategic alliances — like Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW — to share valuable data sets rapidly. This empowers top-class customer service and sustainable success.
Hitachi is also using an AI app to make its human employees happier. Card-shaped sensors track staff body movements and working activities send results to smartphones.The phones then alert workers with simple wellbeing advice such as having a positive conversation to boost team morale.
And it’s a system which gets results — divisions using the app had performance levels 27 percent
higher than those without it.
So there are five ways AI will have a transformative effect in the near future. None of these AI applications demand deference to robot overlords — they may even humanize business unleashing the profitable potential of collective emotional intelligence.