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Humans Play Very Important Roles in an AI-supported World

In the age of artificial intelligence, businesses will increasingly depend on humans and machines collaborating with each other. Therefore, as humans, we need to think of the positives that working with machines will bring to our day-to-day work life and how we can benefit from it. Behind these AI machines and technology, humans are required to perform roles to ensure the smooth transition to an AI-driven world.

Practitioners have explored the nature of some of these new roles and uncovered three new categories of jobs:

  1. Trainers
  2. Explainers
  3. and the Sustainers

Trainers – these are human workers that teach AI machines and systems how to perform and mimic human behavior. Trainers will help computers learn to recognize faces or improve how they translate languages. For example, human trainers were needed to develop the personality of Amazon’s Alexa to ensure it represents Amazon’s brand.

Explainers – these are human workers that explain how AI machines and algorithms work. For example, safety engineers focus on anticipating and trying to prevent harm by AI. They will interpret the results of data presented by AI to improve transparency and accountability for their decisions, helping to strengthen the confidence of both customers and workers in AI-powered processes.

Sustainers(most popular with my fellow students in a course I took recently) Sustainers are human workers that will ensure intelligence systems stay true to their original goals without crossing ethical lines or reinforcing bias. For example, this could include an ethics compliance manager to ensure that an AI-powered credit approval system does not discriminate against certain categories of customers. So, although AI is disrupting the workplace and changing the way that work is done, the opportunity remains for humans to apply certain skill sets and perform certain AI-driven jobs.

Behind these AI machines and technology, humans play very important roles in an AI-supported world. This has led to an increased demand for certain jobs.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

AI is the science of using computers to do things that traditionally required the human mind.  It’s a technology that will accelerate the digital transformation of industry and prove essential to the success of our digital economy in what is an increasingly connected world.

Artificial Intelligence is about making a machine intelligent.  It’s when machines simulate processes and activities that usually require human intelligence such as speech recognition, decision-making, language translation, and so on. AI is a constellation of many different technologies working together to enable machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn with human-like levels of intelligence.  Maybe that’s why it seems as though everyone’s definition of artificial intelligence is different: AI isn’t just one thing.

Technologies like machine learning and natural language processing are all part of the AI landscape. Each one is evolving along its own path and, when applied in combination with data, analytics and automation, can help businesses achieve their goals, be it improving customer service or optimizing the supply chain.

Narrow (or “weak”) AI
Some go even further to define artificial intelligence as “narrow” and “general” AI. Most of what we experience in our day-to-day lives is narrow AI, which performs a single task or a set of closely related tasks. Examples include:

  • Weather apps
  • Digital assistants
  • Software that analyses data to optimize a given business function

These systems are powerful, but the playing field is narrow: They tend to be focused on driving efficiencies. But, with the right application, narrow AI has immense transformational power—and it continues to influence how we work and live on a global scale.

General (or “strong”) AI
General AI is more like what you see in sci-fi films, where sentient machines emulate human intelligence, thinking strategically, abstractly and creatively, with the ability to handle a range of complex tasks. While machines can perform some tasks better than humans (e.g. data processing), this fully realized vision of general AI does not yet exist outside the silver screen. That’s why human-machine collaboration is crucial—in today’s world, artificial intelligence remains an extension of human capabilities, not a replacement.

AI Will Take Our Jobs

Daniel Czarnecki is a LinkedIn connection and Artificial Intelligence Enthusiast who said that “he wrecks his head” trying to explain AI to people.  A common concern is that AI will take our jobs and is, he says “a ubiquitous question, and many have a pessimistic view.”  He went on to say that “it is time to accept that AI/ML will be a part of your job. Instead of replacing you, a computer system driven by AI will augment your work.  Simply, machines are inherently better at storing, processing and making predictions based on massive datasets – that is excellent news for you!  Machines will replace inevitably mundane work that you do daily. Instead, you can focus on being more creative and innovative, enhancing your overall skills – reaching new heights.”

The Toyota Way and IoT

Another example I liked by Daniel came from Jeffry K Liker’s book ‘The Toyota Way’ – here are his words: 

“As we know, Toyota is the top car manufacturer globally, and they pride themselves on the quality, safety and reliability of their cars. So, although Toyota has been apprehensive about introducing AI into their production lines, they eventually decided to try it.

Cooling fans in their furnaces need to be replaced 4-5 times a year due to wear and tear. A decision was made to install IoT (Internet of Things) sensor devices to monitor fans and other components of the furnace. AI was used to understand the data from IoT devices. They didn’t have to wait long. A warning showed that one of the fans would fail in 56 hours. That triggered a pro-active procedure to move the production to other lines; it took 12 hours to cool down and shut down the furnace, an additional 12 hours to do the maintenance work, and subsequently 12 hours to heat up the furnace – total downtime 36 hours.

They knew in advance what would happen; in this case, AI was like a magic ball. It predicted actions before they had transpired. The whole replacement procedure was conducted in a planned and controlled manner. 

What would happen if AI didn’t analyze and predict the failure? Undoubtedly more disruptive events would occur to product lines.  Now imagine how AI can predict a possible failure in your organization and how proactively you can fix it without prolonged downtime.” – shared by Daniel Czarnecki, CEO of v500 Systems

Responsible AI is the Future

Kerry Sheehan, [Head of Service Development and Innovation, Communication and AI Advisor – UK Civil Service] is a panelist at ‘Responsible AI is the Future’, a discussion on AI Safety and Ethics in the Public Sector. 

The UK government is encouraging discussion on the ethics of AI and bringing together the private and public sectors, consumer groups and academia with questions on ethics, fairness and transparency on the agenda.

  • How do we decide which ethical principles are to be integrated into the AI systems?
  • How do we ensure AI systems being used are employing ethical principles focused primarily on the public good?

Later on, Kerry will moderate the session ‘The Bright Future of AI in Public Sector: Collaboration between Government, Industry and Academia:

  • What does the future of AI in public sector look like?
  • How does the publics sector collaborate with industry and academia to accelerate the research, development, delivery, and adoption of AI?
  • How do civic leaders engage with the public about algorithmic transparency and build trust?

Existing initiatives are:

Saying goodbye to Drudgery

One of the main benefits of artificial intelligence is its ability to reduce the drudgery involved in many work tasks. Repetitive, tedious tasks in any job are the bane of many human workers around the world. Some are so boring that mistakes are commonplace, with human attention difficult to sustain when conducting repetitive tasks. Humans are not best served by tedium.

Such tasks, however, are perfectly suited for computer automation. This is where sophisticated AIs could come to the rescue, providing a true benefit.

AI in Public Relations

Discovering the ability of artificial intelligence to transform our everyday lives and how it shapes the way we work is encouraged by my Institute, the CIPR (LinkedIn link to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations).  For AI to deliver on its promise, it will require predictability and trust. These two are interrelated. For trust to flourish, an ethical code will be important.

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