As you’ve come to learn, prioritizing wellness and well-being is core to the Chapter tOO™ business model. In alignment with this priority, we took a break from writing and publishing new Gems & Gemisodes™ in August to allow our minds time to rest, and we’re so grateful that we did because so much content ideation goodness has flowed on the other side of rest! So, without further ado, this month is dedicated to a topic that has arguably been on a lot of minds… Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The AI technologies that have made headlines, such as generative text, speech-to-text, and facial recognition, have been shaping our lives for a considerable time and longer than many may immediately realize. From virtual assistants on our smartphones to recommendation algorithms on streaming platforms, AI is deeply integrated into the everyday tools and services we use. Yet, in an era defined by rapid technological advancements, the continued integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into more aspects of our lives has spurred numerous conversations about its impact on businesses and employees.
But before we delve into that, let’s first address the question: What exactly is AI? Well, that depends on who you ask! If we go with one of the available definitions, it is “the branch of computer science involved with the design of computers or other programmed mechanical devices having the capacity to imitate human intelligence and thought.” If we were to ask people on the street, we might receive responses ranging from ‘processes, systems, and technologically enabled tools that are greatly enhancing the way I’m able to work and manage my life’ to ‘something that is taking or going to take the jobs and livelihoods of people away.’
So, what’s the reality of AI? More than one thing can be true at the same time, so all of these definitions are valid, and yes, that includes the fact that some jobs have been lost to AI already. However, a reality we don’t often hear acknowledged enough amidst the AI fear chatter is that AI is far from new — in fact, the current concept as we know it today can be traced back to Alan Turing, often referred to as the father of computer science, and his seminal work “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” published in 1950. Yes, as in over 70 years ago!
AI’s impact and trend today show no signs of slowing down. Its influence, especially within certain industries (e.g., tech) and disciplines (e.g., some writers and graphic designers competing for business with AI-generated content and imagery), is rapidly increasing. AI represents an ongoing evolution, not the revolution some believe, which is why going back to the title of this #Gem, Chapter tOO™ believes that there are and will continue to be an evolving number of business and employee opportunities to be capitalized upon as a result of AI.
What opportunities do we foresee? These opportunities, like all opportunities, will stem from the dual impact (currently known and unknown) of AI—advantages and disadvantages…
Advantages of AI in Business:
- Automation: The automation of repetitive tasks leads to heightened efficiency and productivity, allowing human employees to focus on higher-value activities.
- Scalability: AI enables businesses to scale their operations efficiently. As the volume of data and tasks increases, AI systems can handle larger workloads without the need for proportionate increases in human resources. This scalability is particularly beneficial for industries with fluctuating demands.
- Predictive Analytics: AI-driven predictive analytics empowers businesses to anticipate trends and outcomes based on historical data. This foresight aids in strategic planning, risk mitigation, and making proactive decisions, contributing to a competitive advantage in the market.
- Enhanced Decision Making: AI-powered data analysis enhances decision-making, enabling businesses to extract insights from vast datasets.
- Personalization: personalization driven by AI may enhance customer experiences, leading to improved engagement and loyalty.
Disadvantages of AI in Business:
- Privacy Concerns: As AI systems collect and process vast amounts of data, there is an increased risk of privacy breaches and data misuse. Personal information and sensitive data could be exposed, leading to identity theft or unauthorized access.
- Biases (because humans designed): AI decision-making algorithms can inadvertently perpetuate discrimination.
- Loss of Genuine Human Interactions: AI might lack the empathy and understanding that humans naturally possess – for customer service based business this can lead to unspeakable negative impact — AI has already been accused of encouraging someone to end their life.
- Lack of Accountability: When AI systems make decisions or predictions, it can be challenging to pinpoint accountability if errors occur. This becomes especially concerning when AI is used in critical sectors like healthcare or autonomous vehicles.
- Over Dependence: Relying heavily on AI could lead to a society overly dependent on technology. If AI systems fail or malfunction, it might disrupt essential services and processes.
So what does all of this mean for businesses and people?
For businesses, embracing AI entails more than just technological adoption. It involves investing in upskilling and reskilling programs to empower employees for new roles that harness AI’s capabilities. Encouraging AI-human collaboration can leverage the strengths of both, leading to innovation and growth. Additionally, prioritizing ethical AI implementation is vital to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability. For employees, continuous learning and adaptability are key to remaining relevant in a changing landscape. Rather than fearing AI as a threat, viewing it as a tool to augment productivity can unlock its true potential. By acquiring new skills and embracing change, individuals can position themselves as valuable contributors in an AI-augmented workforce.
In sum, AI is here to stay so we’re on the ‘embrace it train’ and are confident that the opportunities that will result from its evolution will only lead to the creation of new market areas, business service lines, departments, specialties and areas of focus, not to mention new laws and regulations — all of this points to the fact that HUMANS will therefore develop new skills, areas of expertise, and careers to handle.
The future isn’t AI vs. humans – it’s about leveraging both to create a harmonious, innovative landscape.
Be sure to stop by again on September 15th when we drop our next AI inspired #Gem! In the meantime, for an extra special treat, check out our Founder & CEO Charmaine sharing her views on AI’s impact in life and business in this Ladies Get Paid article here.