Ever since Artificial Intelligence (AI) shifted from simply being hype to a tangible business asset, fears among workforces have grown. A common argument against the technology is that it could cost workforces their jobs.
Recent research Oracle conducted with Otto Beisheim School of Management shows nearly a quarter of employees 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.
Think of AI as a supplement
Businesses have never needed to be more adaptable, set up to react to 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. As employees’ roles evolve, 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.
From finance and HR to marketing, sales, and the supply chain, AI is supporting the reshaping of traditional roles, teams and departments. AI can improve decision making; it can drive efficiencies. And, most importantly, as it can take care of the more routine parts of any job, it can allow business users to focus their time, energy, and passion on activities at which humans excel, such as creativity, problem solving, and invention.
Each organization holds so much data across its systems – and this needs to be analyzed securely to both get the best insights but also to adhere to strict regulations. Sometimes human error can’t guarantee that.
Freeing up human possibilities
The key principle of Yin and Yang is that all things exist as inseparable opposites. 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 be truly innovative and differ from the competition.
Staff 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). 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, 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. For example, implementing Oracle ERP Cloud opened up job opportunities on the finance team. Instead of pairing blind employees with sighted workers in these roles, the technology now enables blind workers to perform tasks independently through the voice interface.
This added productivity has helped the company to extend even more jobs to the blind and visually impaired.
As AI becomes a worthwhile business asset, more and more companies know it’s a way to improve processes. But, rather than staff fearing for their jobs in this future, it’s an opportunity for them to upskill and help to get the best out of the technologies. When you consider that only 10 per cent 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 who might replace them, people will soon see it as a counterpart to helping them getting the job done in the best way possible, creating a balanced world like Yin and Yang for mutual success all around.
Karine Picard is EMEA Vice-President - Applications Strategy & Sales Development at Oracle.