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In a recent Digital Leaders Salon we debated Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots and the future for humans. There was great hope about the emerging possibilities for customer engagement, enabled by AI.
Hot on the heels of the Digital Age, the ‘AI Age’ is upon us. From Siri, to Alexa, predictive text, personalised ads, auto-messaging and chat-bots, commonplace tech in our everyday consumer lives, is rapidly pervading our workplaces. To stay current, no matter with which generation you most closely identify, you need to understand how to adapt to working with ‘non-human colleagues’.
Take the case of Andrew and Amy, two new team members engaged by one business to manage diary scheduling. Amy and Andrew have been hired for their professional, personal and highly efficient capabilities, and to reduce time lost to meeting planning email ping-pong. Every day they are entrusted by their managers to communicate freely with other colleagues within the business, and with multiple client contacts. Amy and Andrew are AI assistants, and they are ‘non-humans’, although they behave with very convincing human-like personas.
Don’t expect your non-human colleagues to be pigeon-holed in administrative tasks. Take the example of a web development business that is creating AI-enabled support assistants to engage with mental health and elderly care patients. The UK’s NHS is at the forefront of exploring use-cases for non-human supporters of very human patients. Will AI every reach a point where it can alleviate pressure on over-stretched human service providers?
Harvard predicts that we will soon see the dawn of robo-managers, who will use machine learning to devise complex project schedules, task allocation and monitor our progress. In future, you may have to answer to a robo-boss for routine progress updates and reporting.
There is huge potential for AI-enabled technologies to transform the way that we engage with colleagues, customers and end users. The question is not ‘if’, but ‘when’ you will adopt AI into your business, organisation or personal career path.
If you are in a leadership position today, there are many new facets of Digital Leadership’to consider and AI needs to be on your agenda – now. The likelihood is that you are already implementing AI within your business, or considering when you will need to do so.
Here are some AI essentials for Digital Leaders everywhere:
As we accelerate at speed into the AI Age, the remit for digital leaders has widened once more. As ever, ignorance is no defence, and leaders must constantly re-appraise the opportunities and limitations of AI adoption. And for those worried about a dystopian future, think instead of the new skills profile that will be required. Humans will (for now) have exclusivity on creativity, entrepreneurship, sensitivity and empathy. The future is exciting if you view it with humanity.
By Alison Freer, Director of Consulting and Learning at durhamlane, specialising in commercial leadership development for leaders of high-growth and transforming organisations.