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Artificial intelligence will increase productivity by sharpening human mind

The combination of AI and humans will triple productivity if businesses get the balance right for different roles

Research shows that software robots will soon automate 80% of repetitive tasks currently being done by people and increase productivity by freeing up humans to use their brains.

Businesses will need to develop a balance of artificial and human intelligence as different roles require a mix of the two, found the academic study by Goldsmiths, University of London and artificial intelligence (AI) supplier IPsoft,

It said by automating and redeploying humans away from repetitive jobs to tasks that require creativity and innovation, organisations can increase productivity three times over.

The FuturaCorp: Artificial Intelligence & the Freedom to be Human report outlines the future workplace where humans and machines together increase output.

The report described three tasks requiring a different mix of human and artificial intelligence.

It said deterministic tasks are repetitive and process-oriented, while probabilistic tasks require a human in concert with machines. Then there are cross-functional reasoning jobs that rely on connections that can only be made by the human brain.

The report said that 80% of deterministic tasks will be done by machines in the not-too-distant future, probabilistic jobs will be shared 50:50, while humans will do 80% of cross-functional reasoning tasks.

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“The real productivity benefits of AI will not be simply a factor of automating existing processes. The arrival of AI will engender entirely new, unknown possibilities for humans and what they can achieve,” said Chris Brauer, senior lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London.

“It is this new configuration of humans working alongside intelligent machines that will be the source of sustained competitive advantage. The result will be FuturaCorp – a Fortune 500 with the innovative flexibility of a Silicon Valley startup, or a startup with the IT power of a Fortune 500.”

Chetan Dube, CEO at IPsoft, said CEOs must be prepared to redefine their business in order to capitalise on the  productivity potential of AI. “That journey begins with fundamental change to organisation structure, who they hire for which roles, and how they use the new relationship between humans and machines to maximise efficiency and innovation.”

“AI engenders emergent individual qualities, which push us to access the more complex parts of our minds. When routine work is automated, we will be able – and required – to flex our most human of skills. The future of society relies on individuals accessing higher reasoning, critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills,” said Dube.

Amelia’s reading power

IPSofts AI platform, known as Amelia, was launched in 2014. It has an understanding of the semantics of language and can learn to solve business process queries like a human. It can read 300 pages in 30 seconds and learn through experience by observing the interactions between human agents and customers.

If Amelia can’t answer a question, it passes the query on to a human, but remains in the conversation to learn how to solve similar issues in future. It understands 20 languages, as well as context, can apply logic and infer implications.

The software is used for services such as technology helpdesks, contact centres, procurement processing and to advise field engineers, among other business processes.

AI’s benefit to productivity is now being predicted. According to recent research by Vanson Bourne for Infosys, businesses that have adopted AI technologies expect their revenues to increase by 39% and costs to drop by 37% by 2020. Some 64% say their future growth depends on large-scale AI adoption.

But there are hurdles to overcome. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2017 has highlighted risks associated with AI. Based on a survey of 750 experts, the report warned that AI, biotech and robotics have among the highest benefits to society, but they also require the most legislation.

The World Economic Forum warned that governance of emerging technologies is patchy. Some are regulated heavily, and others hardly at all because they do not fit under the remit of any existing regulatory body.

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