Human intelligence must guide artificial intelligence

While it is true that AI will reinvent traditional methods of working and automate certain tasks, it will also create many new jobs that require new skills

Shaji Mathew
Updated: Jun 27, 2024 10:24:29 AM UTC
Image: Shutterstock

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are developing at a rapid pace, and touching our lives in unimagined ways. On one hand, AI is enhancing several day-to-day functions and improving productivity. On the other hand, there are fears that it may lead to redundancy and replacement of humans at work. As AI expands in scope and gets deployed on an increasingly wider scale, the question on everyone’s lips is: What will human intelligence look like in the future?

While it is true that AI will reinvent traditional methods of working and automate certain tasks, it will also create many new jobs that require new skills. According to a report, the skills needed for most jobs by 2030 will have changed by 65 percent compared to 2015 owing to the integration of digital technologies, including AI. More importantly, these skills will not just include technical skills but also human capabilities such as problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, and time management. People will neither be swept aside by AI transformation, nor will they passively watch it evolve. Instead, human intelligence will be an integral part of the AI journey, and crucial to its success.

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Given this emerging scenario, employers should focus on creating AI learning opportunities for their workforce and help them maximise their potential. A large part of this involves training employees in role-relevant AI skills. This includes training programmers in writing better AI algorithms; training designers to use Generative AI to develop new products; familiarising HR managers with AI-assisted recruitment tools; and upskilling technical workers into prompt engineers, data ethicists, and AI auditors. More importantly, organisations should encourage employees to use AI to amplify their uniquely human capabilities, such as creative thinking and innovation. Getting employees to work with AI – with them in the driving seat and with AI as co-pilot – is an effective way of ridding them of any scepticism or fears about AI.

There are many ways in which AI adds value to the work humans do.

Enhances capabilities: By performing mundane, repetitive parts of jobs more efficiently, AI improves the productivity of the people in those roles. Free from drudgery, they can focus on the more cognitive and demanding aspects of their jobs. AI tools also enable easy access to vast data sources as and when required, providing workers with the right knowledge at the right time so that they can perform better.

Enables better decisions: By offering granular insights in real time, or exactly when needed, AI allows employees to make informed decisions. Intelligent engines offer additional support by recommending “next-best” actions.

Deepens relationships: AI tools enable deeper collaboration between people, which can strengthen relationships between employees, with customers, and business partners. AI-aided collaboration can also improve outcomes by breaking down silos to allow a free flow of information, avoid duplication of effort, and align the efforts of different teams toward a common goal.

Improves experience: Apart from enabling automation, collaboration, and insights, AI tools – especially those based on generative AI – can add significant value to employee experience by acting as coding assistants to programmers, writing draft documents, “conversing” in natural language to resolve queries, and assisting across a diverse range of tasks.

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Employers must create the right conditions for employees to reap the value of AI. Training employees will be ineffective unless the organisation gives its people the freedom to experiment (and occasionally fail) with AI on the job. Cross-functional collaboration on AI – between the sales and marketing teams, or between product design and compliance, for instance – yields superior outcomes compared to efforts made in isolation. It is also as important to empower people to explore the full potential of AI, and employers must ensure that these experiments fall within the boundaries of Responsible AI.

Responsible AI is largely driven by human intelligence. This brings us back to the point I made earlier. While AI algorithms can ingest data and provide insights, organisations must have humans as a part of the process, to ensure there is no violation of data security and privacy, and that the outcomes are accurate and unbiased. AI, like all technologies, exists to serve humanity but what makes it so exciting is its ability to work alongside humans as assistants, co-pilots, and partners to bring about great transformations.

Shaji Mathew is group head of human resource development at Infosys.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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