As technology continues to evolve, there is a rising concern of machines taking over humans, talks of the unavoidable battle between the automation of jobs and human interaction.
Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, released way back in 2002, is one of my favourite sci-fi movies. It creatively portrayed and accurately predicted disruptive technologies including multi-touch interfaces, retina scanners, electronic paper, and even crime prediction software become a part of our lives. Fast forward to just about two decades ahead, and almost all of these have become the norm. Technology enthusiasts have conjured up utopian visions of futuristic versions of nearly everything right from the future of the workplace, autonomous driving, to space travel.
As technology continues to evolve, there is a rising concern of machines taking over humans, talks of the unavoidable battle between the automation of jobs and human interaction. While some people believe technology will replace most of the tasks performed by humans, the eventual outcome is probably not as simple.
I firmly believe technology that benefits and transforms lives will stay forever. Post-pandemic, the Internet has become essential for our daily existence – be it at work, home, education, or socializing. The possibilities available through artificial intelligence, augmented reality, cloud computing, quantum computing creates a wide range of options for us to leverage. It is equally imperative that we carefully consider the use of technology, understand its potential impact, and exercise this decision judiciously.
Embrace technology and quell the fear of tech replacing humans
Nobody likes to feel that their job is at risk. There’s a lot of buzz around automation and AI-enabled tools stepping in to handle tasks that people otherwise would, no doubt sparking fear of robots replacing humans shortly. What’s important here is to embrace technology in a manner that results in better outcomes and productivity.
Let’s look at the banking industry, for instance. Digital banking has become a norm during the pandemic, and customers are now more comfortable transacting online than ever before. Several banks have also deployed bots that provide a quick turnaround of responses to customers. It has led to freeing up the capacity for executives to focus on other key functions. With technology taking the lead on mundane tasks, professionals are focusing on essential activities such as enabling new and innovative products to the market, be increasingly effective in addressing customer problems– a win-win for all.
Collaborative tech for best results
Artificial Intelligence technology is redefining the way we work, driving big changes in productivity, quality, and speed on data-intense and predictable work outcomes. AI algorithms can be used to improve everything across the product lifecycle or customer lifecycle journey. As per Gartner, the use of AI in many business sectors has grown by 270% over the last four years.
We’re already experiencing this transformation in our daily lives. Let’s take the simple example of customer service irrespective of the industry, we are often chatting with an intelligently programmed assistant / Bot on the other side who can record our grievance and offer a momentary solution. The behavioural intelligence embedded within AI can certainly be used to guide customers. However, human beings still drive cognitive decisions, and technology alone cannot be relied upon to solve all problems or quell the anxiety of an agitated customer. To satisfy customers who feel their needs are not met, you need something humans possess, and bots don’t: creativity and empathy.
Focus on people
Ask any business about their values today, and chances are ‘customer centricity’ will top that list. It is great for the company. But for it to truly excel, I recommend a more people-centric approach; put people – customers, employees, vendors, partners, associates at the heart of what you do, and deploy technology solutions to solve problems that real people face. For instance, in the education sector, virtual learning is bridging the digital divide by giving the underprivileged access to specialized training programs and experts. Similarly, technologies such as AI, VR are helping save lives and extend life expectancy by diagnosing diseases faster and providing remedies in real-time. However, technology also brings the possibility of cyber security threats and attacks. Businesses need to contend with it and at the same time ensure ethical use of technology for customers and the world at large. We have a choice to make in how we harness and develop new technologies, as always, it comes down to finding the right balance.
In conclusion, history proves that no technology innovation survived without positively impacting the larger human population. Behind every leading tech innovation, there’s a team of great human minds working together to solve a problem or helping realize a bigger purpose. While the industry navigates through disruption, I believe there is a way to strike a balance between adopting innovation, implementing technology, and maintaining a human approach to doing business. Rather than resisting technological change, companies can control how they respond and take advantage of it in a way that doesn’t lose sight of its purpose.
The author is the CEO of Fulcrum Digital. Views expressed are personal