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Author Topic: Workplace AI Should Be Collaboration, Not Replacement  (Read 615 times)


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Workplace AI Should Be Collaboration, Not Replacement
« on: December 21, 2020, 02:37:23 pm »
The story of workplace AI should be one of collaboration, not replacement.

In 2018, the tech giant Huawei arranged a surprising performance of Franz Schubert’s Symphony no. 8.

Why was it surprising? Well, Schubert began the symphony almost 200 years ago, but he died after he completed its first two movements. Yet somehow, this orchestra managed to play four. That’s where Huawei came in; the company used AI technology to analyze Schubert’s style and predict what his missing movements might have sounded like!

Engineers fed the AI program 90 of the composer’s finished compositions, and let it analyze the two existing movements of Symphony no. 8. In a process of human-AI collaboration, a contemporary composer then refined the output into two complete and entirely new movements.

The key message here is: The story of workplace AI should be one of collaboration, not replacement.

Huawei’s ambitious musical venture points toward the ideal future of AI, which should be working in tandem with humans without replacing us entirely. In a sense, then, AI will hopefully become a kind of trusted and super-efficient coworker.

Overseeing the collaboration between this new colleague and regular employees will fall to business leaders. Their task will be to manage the new diversity of this human-AI workplace.

Delegation will be central to ensuring that this diversity is a success. After all, if AI is going to be of any use, it must be entrusted with the tasks it’s most suited to. This is easier said than done, however. Leaders risk offending employees with the suggestion that some jobs are better left to AI.

Luckily, this isn’t inevitable. Leaders need to remind employees that AI is a collaborator, not a competitor. By letting algorithms take care of crunching data and issuing verdicts, human employees can make use of their creativity and soft skills. In other words, AI should be understood as a collaborator that frees us up to be more human.

The Korean car manufacturer Hyundai showed just how fruitful human-machine collaborations can be. Instead of replacing their line workers with robots, they developed wearable, robotic exoskeletons for them instead.

These exoskeletons made heavy lifting much easier for employees, augmenting their abilities instead of replacing them. Leaders hoping to create an AI-friendly workplace could learn a lot from this approach. - Book summary by

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