Without doubt, Artificial Intelligence will impact the way we work and live in the near future. AI applications based on machine learning, neural networks and data, are progressing at a fast pace and are implemented across sectors. How can companies prepare themselves? What are the most important strategies and processes to apply? How can machines and humans effectively work together in the future?
There have been a lot of discussions on the possible negative consequences of AI such as job loss due to automation. Rather than focussing on the threats, Accenture’s Paul Daugherty shed some light on the opportunities arising with AI for companies. While machines will certainly be able to take care of specific tasks and replace jobs or at least parts of them, new ones will also be created. “We don’t have a jobs issue”, Paul says. “We have about six million people unemployed in the US, but we also have six million open job postings. It’s a question of skills.” There are estimates that by 2020, AI and robotics will eliminate 1.8 million jobs, but the technologies will have created 2 million new jobs.
How do you prepare people for this shift? Companies need to invest on different levels, Paul explains. It will be crucial to install an educational support system, advancing skills and recruiting talents. Business leaders need to rethink every aspect and process of their company. “You can’t drive change from the silos of your business, you have to look for opportunities across your company.” Another pivot to compete in the future will be the data your business can draw on. “Data is the fuel powering the AI engines.” Lacking the right data is the biggest obstacle for companies according to Paul. The third main challenge companies are facing is to identify and apply principles of responsible AI. Data sets often times come with a bias which algorithms can further accentuate.
Ending on a positive note, Paul predicts – if companies get it right – implementing AI systems will equal “new superpowers for people”.