Artificial intelligence is unashamedly a big deal – why else would Norfolk Developers’ Journal be running an AI special?! With annual global revenue predicted to grow from $643 million in 2016 to $36.8 billion in 2025, artificial intelligence represents the fastest growing sector in IT.
Businesses have been quick to investigate the ways AI can increase their profitability and solve a variety of problems. Research by the Economist revealed that 75% of 200 business surveyed said there are plans to implement AI in their company within the next three years.
While this innovation is great news for bosses, how do team members feel about the advent of AI in their companies? As extreme as it sounds, one report from Udemy found that fear of losing your job to AI is the number one cause of stress among US employees.
Change can be scary, and that’s ok. But, we think AI in the workplace is nothing to be afraid of.
While early predictions suggest a handful of jobs may be ‘lost’ to AI, experts reckon that the potential of AI will develop more jobs than it cuts. Let’s take a look at some of the ways AI is improving things for the workforce across sectors.
According to Gartner, by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a brand without ever interacting with a human.
The business benefits of using AI in customer services are clear. Automating part of the process frees up customer service agents to respond to more complex tasks. This could done through the use of AI chat-bots, or AI systems that can assist and augment the knowledge of call handlers.
Businesses will not only save time money on training and service, but can also provide a better service experience for customers through AI. With our ‘always on’ society, more and more customers want to speak to businesses outside the hours of nine to five – often difficult when using human staff.
On the surface, this sounds like a very definite cut in the number of customer service agents that will be needed by businesses. However, it’s not as clear-cut as that.
Imagine if freeing up the time of customer service staff allowed them to focus more on complicated processes? Not only will customers benefit from the reassuring assistance of a real human when they’re facing a difficult problem, but it also creates the opportunity to make the work more rewarding for staff. There’s nothing like the gratitude of a satisfied customer to thank you for a job really well done – and not even AI can do that.
When a business has a particularly knowledgeable and experienced team member, their departure could be disastrous.
Luckily, the automation of knowledge can help. Knowledge automation is not about “teaching” computers to do a job, rather it involves mapping the knowledge of experienced team members. This knowledge map can then be used to create a system that can record everything there is to know. This data can then be used to create automated training processes, or even chat interfaces that will answer questions – whatever suits the business best.
Not only does this mean no jobs are lost, but it also allows other employees to benefit from the knowledge of their colleagues. This is good news for everyone: businesses that encourage workplace training are likely to have happier employees, and happy employees are more productive, and more likely to stay in a position long-term.
Big data analysis
Data analysis and artificial intelligence go hand in hand; especially when combined with the continuous stream of data provided by the internet of things. This is one sector in which no jobs are “threatened” by AI: big data sets are so large, it can’t be analysed by human minds anyway.
However, it is the potential of big data analysis for personalisation that will have the real human impact on employees and customers alike.
A large data set of customer information is a great asset for any brand looking to improve its offering. Personalised emails perform six times better than generic marketing emails, and yet 70% of brand don’t use them because they don’t have the data. Clearly, AI can be applied to help businesses learn more about their potential customers.
Of course, this data needn’t be purely digital: really smart businesses will unite IOT real-world with data with information gathered digitally about their customers.
And what about the benefit to employees? Learning more about their customers can help employees serve them better, smoothing out problems from their work flow, and – if they work in sales – even boosting their commission.
AI: Better for everyone
As we’ve seen, AI offers dozens of solutions to common business dilemmas: it can increase profitability by saving businesses time, money, and resources.
Though a business’s biggest priority is its customers, they cannot afford to ignore the value of their staff. Smart brands will invest the increased profits gained by AI into their employees.
Entrepreneur extraordinaire, Richard Branson, said it himself: “take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your business”. This is truer than ever when it comes to tech companies. Experts agree that happy staff and an emphasis on learning are the key to successful innovation.
Sounds like AI could be HR’s new best friend…
By Melissa Taylor, Brand Communications Manager at Luminous PR
Luminous PR is a tech PR agency, specialising comms for digital businesses. We work with tech brands of all sizes: from sparky startups and SMEs to international corporates, we provide tech PR, social media, marketing, and content.