As automation technologies such as machine learning and robotics play an increasing role in everyday life their potential impact on the workplace has become a major subject of research and public interest. When it comes to a specific business application, it is important to know which jobs will or will not be replaced by machines. We tried to figure this out.
If nowadays a person performs typical operations, they are likely to be replaced by a machine tomorrow. If a business has sufficiently formalized its processes and works according to the developed algorithm, machines can replace people in this industry very easily. Being more "diligent" and trying to develop skill-sets in this area is less and less attractive strategy, as robots will overtake anyway. Companies create a huge amount of data, managers and staff can no longer keep it all in their heads, while programs can.
There are systems that can fully manage the project - from the very start to results: they are able to form optimal management solutions, model different development scenarios, set tasks, assemble teams. Such cases of using AI-based programs already exist and we will talk about them below. Briefly, AI solutions are being implemented in an increasing number of businesses because they:
- are working 24/7;
- are very fast in their computations and can provide solutions;
- track project progress in real-time, consider resources and risks;
- never get tired of routine, even when it's frankly boring, meaningless, life-threatening.
At the same time, most often AI does not take people’s work but helps to do it more efficiently. Let's look at a number of professions in which AI has already proven itself to be a first-class remedy for routine tasks.
.1 Recruiter business role
AI-based chatbots and audio bots are gaining popularity among employers, who need to conduct many interviews for recruitment for mass vacancies. A small dialogue scenario is appropriate for HR-bots. The optimal number of questions is up to seven. That's enough to make the initial screening. Such a program copes with a large number of interviews dozens of times faster than a person and can provide immediate feedback to the candidate. Thus, HR-specialist's business role time is freed up for more complex and unusual tasks of searching for employees.
For example, the Nissan company uses chatbots to recruit loaders. The questions are like this: "Does the schedule suit you? Are you ready to work with weights?" etc. According to the answers, the bot instantly sifts out inappropriate candidates. If the answers are the same as expected, the bot invites the candidate for an interview with an HR-specialist. The bot is also programmed to agree a convenient date for the meeting and send an SMS with the recruiter's contact details.
To select the right ones, the developers coded a detailed algorithm for the robot, which was used to analyze each candidate. At the first stage, the system selected 386 candidates, at the second stage - 86 were invited for an interview. As a result, 55 people, more than half of the invitees, reached the employer. 21 people were invited to the skill tests, one third of them successfully passed the interview and completed the test task required for this business role.
Also, another noteworthy case is the Russian startup Sever AI, in which the evaluation of a candidate by a resume and video interview is possible through the use of artificial intelligence. The robot trains together with the company's recruiters and customers from the business, and then imitates their actions and, if necessary, learns on its own.
According to the developers, the robot was right in 90% of cases and saves 50-60% of HR-business role working time. "It takes a person a couple of minutes to evaluate a single resume, Sever estimates thousands of resumes in three seconds. To reach a candidate, it takes at least five to ten minutes, Sever spends the same amount of time to reach 1-2 thousand candidates. To conduct a video interview, you need to spend 30 minutes of specialist time, while the robot conducts a thousand interviews simultaneously.”
Such solutions can significantly improve the performance of recruiters. Staff shortage is no longer a problem.
.2 Call-center operator business role
Imagine you've been trying to call the hotline for 40 minutes. Finally, you get an answer, but after just a couple of phrases, the operator puts you back on hold. If you have ever encountered something like this and felt the blood boiling in your veins, keep in mind that on the other end of the wire the situation can often be even worse.
"Imagine that cognitive load, while you have someone screaming at you or complaining about some serious problem, and you’re swiveling between 20 screens to see which one you need to be able to help this person," says Gustavo Sapoznik, 34, founder and CEO of ASAPP, a company that develops software for customer service based on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, these problems only worsened. Call centers of banks, financial corporations, airlines, and service providers faced a tsunami of inquiries. According to the entrepreneur, since the beginning of the crisis, the volume of incoming calls to ASAPP customer hotlines increased by 200% or more, and in some cases even by 900%.
ASAPP focuses on processing natural language and converting speech into text using a patented technology developed under the guidance of one of the creators of Siri from Apple. ASAPP software automatically displays appropriate responses or important documents on the hotline operator's screen, minimizing the need to switch between different applications. Sapoznik and his team of engineers monitored the work of experienced call center staff and created algorithms based on machine learning to improve the artificial intelligence and teach it to act as a qualified hotline operator. In this way, ASAPP software trains the call center staff to find clear answers to customer questions and track important information. If a caller, for example, asks how to return a plane ticket, the ASAPP software will automatically display relevant documents to help the operator quickly resolve the issue. If a customer, for example, spells a sixteen-digit bank card number, the software will instantly record that number and display the data on the hotline operator's screen.
The potential of this solution may be demonstrated by the fact that ASAPP recently raised $260 million in funding and was valued by investors at $800 million.
.3 Manager business role
International conglomerate Hitachi once announced the introduction of AI in the management of the company. Since 2015 the company uses artificial intelligence to issue work orders based on local kaizen activity and demand fluctuations. By "kaizen," Hitachi understands the Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement in working practices, personal effectiveness, and everything like that. The AI was placed to manage a warehouse system and the program has improved performance by 8%.
Hitachi artificial intelligence is able to provide adequate business role work tasks based on the data sets collected daily in corporate business systems, as well as their verification in logistics tasks. So, unlike previous management automation attempts, this system can change business role work tasks and orders in real-time, based on large volumes of information.
Hitachi AI is programmed to take into account some external factors e.g. weather conditions, so you can forget about shifting the responsibility for the failure of deadlines to the snowstorm. The boss already knows about the storm and has already made all the necessary corrections. At the same time, the AI automatically analyzes the result of new approaches, selects the processes with the best performance, and applies them in the next work order.
Despite the fact that it is too early for a full-fledged AI leader, such solutions are already significant progress. In conjunction with a person, such software can help effectively allocate managers' time to more important issues and keep everything under control even in case of unforeseen situations.
.4 Financier business role
To organize the accounting of money in business one no longer needs to keep a whole heap of expensive employees. It is enough to implement an AI-based financial management accounting service, which can replace the financier, business analyst, and sometimes the whole department. Automatic integration with banks negates (or minimizes) routine work. It is enough for a business manager to look at full financial reports in order to forecast and evaluate the profit as well as the profitability of the whole business or its individual segments.
The service automatically informs the owner about forthcoming cash gaps and helps to avoid them. At any moment of time the entrepreneur knows what state the business is in, how to allocate resources, and what managerial decisions need to be made.
For example, the company Narrative Science has developed and implemented the software platform Quill, which uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to study large data in the field of finance. Artificial intelligence enables automatic conversion of data into a coherent text. The program creates multi-page documents with detailed charts and analytics for financial companies that use them to make extensive reports for their clients. For example, Swiss Credit Suisse uses Quill to enhance its investment research platform HOLT, which compares and evaluates approximately 20,000 businesses. Quill includes hundreds of variables from these companies, including asset growth and risk. Quill analyzes these variables and then creates stories that objectively explain the business performance. These narratives accompany existing HOLT visualizations so that investors of all shapes can make more informed investment decisions.
The ability to automatically open and transmit information using natural language has many advantages. This allows people to interact smoothly and naturally with their data. It also reduces the possibility of misinterpretation of data and ensures consistency in the sharing of data. Last but not least, people can quickly act on their key findings and make decisions.
And although only the largest corporations can afford Quill level programs so far, simpler computer algorithms based on AI are still capable of performing the duties of traders, clerks and financial advisers.
.5 Marketer business role
It is believed that creativity is the only advantage a person can count on when competing with machine learning. But still, certain shifts in this direction are already taking place. The Marktech industry is growing by 30% annually, and experts predict that by 2023 it may reach $25.1 billion.
The advertising industry has long used dynamic and data-driven creatives to accelerate, scale, and automate the creative process.
With the help of AI, a mass of advertising banners combinations can be created: images, titles, descriptions, and other components are automatically created and tested. Creatives can be adapted to the context: behavior of a certain audience, weather conditions, economic trends, etc.
A good example of an application is the case of The Economist media holding. The company used this technology to attract paid subscribers. Deep segmentation of readers allowed to show advertising to users whose Internet behavior is similar to that of loyal readers. Banner headers were automatically generated and in real-time played the topics of the day, relevant for specific groups of people. Clicking on the link, users were offered to subscribe for a fee:
As a result of the campaign 60 announcements were created and more than 10 000 paid subscribers were attracted. It was 10 times more than planned ROI.
Dynamic creatives can work not only in digital but also on classic street formats.
London campaign Google Outside in support of Google Search was developed jointly with the marketing agency R/GA. 160 advertising constructions all over the city were united by one intellectual system, which itself generated dynamic creatives based on different templates and conditions. Depending on the time of day, weather, geography, hot news, and search trends, the advertising banner showed passers-by recommendations about the nearest routes, events, recipes, and ideas for the evening.
81% of passers-by who saw the campaign called Google the most innovative brand. And every fifth user after that installed Google Search on his mobile device.
So, as we said before, replacing the entire staff with AI is a bad idea, but it's a great opportunity to optimize your business and achieve stunning performance. By the way, you don't have to spend a lot of money for the R&D center to take advantage of all the AI's delights. There are many ready-made AI solutions that can be integrated into the software, of course, provided that the software itself is tailor-made. And it’s also good to have a reliable technological partner who will implement this idea. And while you are trying to figure out how to take full advantage of the AI potential, read our other articles, for example, this one.