HOW TO PREPARE YOUR EMPLOYEES TO WORK WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Companies exploring and incorporating artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning often think of digital transformation in terms of technology. In doing so, they are missing an opportunity to more quickly build competitiveness and promote professional growth and employee satisfaction.
Like all technological revolutions of the past, today’s is based on the complementarity of forces. In the latter case, the teamwork is between humans and AI. However, when people hear the term “robotics,” they immediately think of human-looking villains from movies like “Future Terminator” or physical robots working with people. We are learning less about the potential for cognitive collaboration between humans and AI. In the meantime, it is not enough to say how “cool” AI will be to change the world. If a company’s leaders don’t explain how and why they seek to solve problems with robotics, it can lead to fear and confusion.
The good news: we strongly believe that this challenge has a solution rooted in human resources and basic human psychology. Here are 2 ways we suggest companies approach adopting robotics to prepare employees.
Talk about how robotics can prevent us from being overwhelmed with information.
We collect data everywhere and about everything, and robotics can help us analyze that data more efficiently.
Humans are reliably wrong when making predictions based on limited information. The mind seeks to quickly create a coherent and convenient narrative, even if it is based on bad data. As a result, people can quickly make judgments and make bad decisions. Furthermore, even when presented with complete information, our intuition is flawed when faced with uncertainty and/or high dimension (too many variables).
These two effects add up when we are faced with the need to make a decision based on a large amount of data. First, our statistical intuition is likely to be wrong. Then, unable to cope with the sheer volume of information, we make it worse by creating a convenient story that confirms our biases.
For example, let’s say we want to predict whether a person is going to buy a new car. The human mind can just look at a single variable like income and make a guess. But if we add age, where they live, whether or not they have children and their political preferences? Humans quickly go astray. In general, if a “problem” exceeds the three dimensions, we begin to no longer understand it. Of course, we don’t like to admit it. Instead, we prefer to create a good narrative about the problem – which gives us the illusion of understanding by becoming overconfident in our predictions. Good stories offer a simple and consistent account of people’s actions and intentions, which is why we love them, even if they’re fake.
AI robotics can give us distilled insights so we can make better decisions. AI-powered robotics can address Big Data problems without needing a story to make sense, or to reinforce previous beliefs. (AI does not have these beliefs). Luckily, the AI also tends to do correct stats.
Understand AI and machine learning as the next step in increasing human capabilities.
Robotics is not a new concept. Factories have long used automated manufacturing processes based on the integration of machines and people.
In summary, AI and ML are useful concepts of mathematics, statistics, and tools. The press and even many tech evangelists talk about “robots that will replace humans” and “steal your job”. This account is neither useful nor correct.
After all, AI is unlikely to soon replace the work of a plumber, an expert who has come to your home, navigated a complex physical environment, and shown ingenuity while taking into account variables such as when your home was built and the exact nature of your flush.
In summary, humans have always created tools to help us with what we don’t know how to do. The Industrial Revolution and advances in manufacturing in the 20th century are tied to physical abilities. The steam engine helped us move heavy goods; the assembly line made repetitive tasks easier. The current technological revolution is about the mind and mental processes.
The power of robotics via AI lies in making people work better, just as electricity has made our lives better. In the same way, that information technology has improved what we do. More than anything, it is a specialized tool that is part of the human arsenal.