Opinion

AI is not to be feared

Prasad Rai | Updated on August 16, 2019 Published on August 16, 2019

Won’t replace jobs; will only enhance job skills

Ever since Artificial Intelligence (AI) shifted from simply being a hype to a tangible business asset, fear of being replaced has grown in workforces worldwide. Recent research Oracle conducted with the Otto Beisheim School of Management shows nearly a quarter of employees worldwide are worried in that respect. But these fears are born out of a perception that machine must be versus man, rather than considering the possibilities if we combine the two together. As an old Chinese proverb suggests that there’s a magic in two contrary forces coming together to create a balance that’s needed for survival. So, rather than seeing the two at war, let’s consider the possibilities of man and machine in a dualism akin to Yin and Yang.

Adapt and thrive

Businesses were never needed to be more adaptable, set up to react to the consumer, economic and societal changes at the drop of a hat. Expectations of consumers are changing, and being as agile as possible is critical in providing the level of service they require. It’s in this new environment that we’re seeing different skillsets coming into fruition. As employees’ roles evolve and change, organisations need technology to enable this way of working. And this is where AI should come in, as a supplement to enhance and abet human skills, rather than replacing them.

Across organizational functions, AI is supporting the reshaping of traditional roles, teams, and departments. AI can improve decision making, accelerate processes and can drive efficiencies. Each organization holds so much data across its systems – and this needs to be analyzed securely to get the best insights and also to adhere to strict regulations. Sometimes human error can’t guarantee that.

Striking the perfect balance

The key principle of Yin and Yang is that all things exist as inseparable opposites. And that’s the key here – AI is the Yang to the human Yin – it excels at repetitive, lower level tasks and analysis, while people are free to make the most of being the Yin, focusing their talents on the more creative, human side of the job that can help a company to be truly innovative.

Workforce needn’t fear AI as a job replacement. In fact, in many instances, it’s actually helping to create more jobs. One such instance is with the Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IBVI). IBVI is a Wisconsin-based manufacturing firm that – as the name suggests – hires the visually impaired. Success for the company means being able to take on more visually impaired people. It wanted to make use of an accessible suite of business applications with modern machine learning capabilities, but needed one that would empower staff, rather than take their jobs. Using Cloud Applications embedded with AI, the company has been able to make use of voice interfaces to create new job opportunities in areas of the business that were once limited to sighted workers.

The opportunity at stake

Conversion of AI into a business asset is inevitable, as AI improves processes, drives efficiencies and makes business sense. However, rather than fearing for their jobs in future, it’s an opportunity for the work force to upskill themselves and to leverage these technologies fully. When you consider that only 10% of organisations think their finance staff have the skills to make use of these technologies, there’s a lot at stake Rather than seeing AI as an enemy, people need to see it as a counterpart to help them getting the job done in the best way possible, creating a balanced world like Yin and Yang for mutual success all around.

The author is the Vice President of Applications at Oracle India

Published on August 16, 2019
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.