AI, or artificial intelligence, is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence.
While we are a fair distance from the movie world idea of what AI is, normally an Android with an entirely human level of intelligence, self-awareness, and emotion, there are some sectors where AI is already being integrated into the workplace, which had caused a bit of backlash.
The concept of machines replacing people in the workplace is an easy sell for the media, looking to get clicks from people who are afraid of losing their jobs, but it’s just not realistic across the board.
While there are jobs that can currently be done by a robot, such as driverless cars replacing taxi drivers, no-one is screaming out for a robot fitness instructor. In this article, we’ll be looking at how AI is really affecting the workplace and its beneficial effects.
Recruitment is one of the areas in which the implementation of AI can help to streamline the process and make it faster and easier for recruiters and also those looking for a new position.
AI can be used to help recruiters write more compelling job descriptions by harvesting data from previous job postings and those from other companies and combining it with information on what interests job seekers to give the posting a larger reach.
AI assistants can also be used to automate the scheduling of appointments and interviews in order to find the best time for all parties without dragging an actual human off another job in order to send a slew of easily automated emails.
In a similar vein to automating interviews, AI can be used by administrative staff to streamline their task load by taking repetitive tasks and automating them so that the actually trained staff can get back to doing tasks that require a level of mental agility that just isn’t within the scope of current AI programs.
Tasks like scheduling, rescheduling, diary operation, and canceling meetings can safely be put in the hands of an AI program without any danger of them replacing trained admin staff.
Communications and Customer Support
For a long time, customer support was the main area which businesses tended to ship overseas through business process outsourcing (BPO). However, there has been a certain level of backlash against BPO because of the perceived poor quality of the service, particularly in the areas of customer service.
Many companies, from Shell to the Royal Mail, are now investing in chatbot AI programs to handle repetitive, easy to answer questions. So popular have chatbots become that Gartner forecasts that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human.
A good example of this is Zuri, a chatbot from Safaricom who is able to use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram to respond to questions from the companies 20 million users and help them with subscription services including viewing subscriptions and unsubscribing from chargeable SMS services.
Sales and Service
While we’re still a fair way off from AI bots calling you to sell you things, programs like Chorus are already in the workplace, analyzing sales calls and offering tips to the sales rep on the phone to better manage the call.
Chorus is also capable of taking the data from the calls it monitors and turn that data into a suite of statistics that can help sales teams improve their performance.
The same science is applied by Cogito, essentially a customer service version of Chorus, that monitors customer service calls and uses behavioral science to help the customer service agent provide the best assistance to the customer.
A Tool, Not a Replacement
In all the cases above AI has been used to make the jobs of actual working humans easier, reducing the need for them to complete repetitive tasks and freeing them up to take on more important work or using data analytics to make them more effective at the jobs they do without looking to replace them.