© 2019 SourceMedia. All rights reserved.

The critical element in successful artificial intelligence: human decisioning

In the race to digital dominance, organizations are gaining competitive advantage by implementing artificial intelligence. While it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of focusing on the technology above all else, organizations that lose sight of the importance of human creativity in the pursuit of technological advantage will ultimately fail.

Today’s workforce is constantly worried about being replaced by robots. Yet, in reality, human creativity and decisioning are needed for robots to function. Rest assured, the “people” part of business isn’t going anywhere. As businesses adopt artificial intelligence technology that can serve up useful data, humans will still ultimately make the decisions.

“This year, the sailors leveraged biometrics and artificial intelligence to better understand which crew members performed better during the day versus the night, and with what amount of calorie intake – then supplemented the outcome with their own creativity to determine how to work as a team (like making food for each other) – or who would sleep away from the hatch in the darker part of the boat.”

Partnership with Artificial intelligence

Integration of artificial intelligence into business processes requires a culture that supports humans evolving alongside artificial intelligence abilities.

Let’s take a look at the Volvo Ocean Race, a globally recognized sailing competition spanning four oceans and 45,000 nautical miles. What makes this race so interesting is that all participating boats are identical in build. The crew makes the difference.

artificial intelligence 19.jpg
A NAO humanoid robot, developed by Softbank Corp. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

This year, the sailors of team AkzoNobel leveraged biometrics and artificial intelligence to better understand which crew members performed better during the day versus the night, and with what amount of calorie intake – then supplemented the outcome with their own creativity to determine how to work as a team (like making food for each other) – or who would sleep away from the hatch in the darker part of the boat. Rather than having machines take over their job, combining artificial intelligence with their own creativity enabled the sailors to maximize productivity.

The concept of a partnership between humans and artificial intelligence isn’t something humans should fear. Rather, it’s something to look forward to, as it will free humans up to do more valuable, creative and thought-driven work. Including machines in decision-making processes also enables companies to have the computer do the mundane, boring tasks, while enabling employees to be involved at a high level with creative responsibilities.

Technology Driven, Human Supported

The Volvo Ocean Race isn’t the only place where this type of partnership is flourishing – it’s happening across the board from the automotive industry to maintenance workers to healthcare. For example, BMW concluded that when humans and machines collaborate on the assembly line, they are 85 percent more productive. Bringing machines into the process also allows humans more time to address creative projects geared towards making cars more efficient and providing a better customer experience.

General Electric uses artificial intelligence to empower its maintenance workers to make
multi-million-dollar operational decisions as they are physically working on industrial equipment, via artificial intelligence agents that report on machine performance. Artificial Intelligence within the healthcare industry is also being put to test – AI automatically sifts through relevant patient documentation, serving up information that helps doctors to make better decisions about which treatments are best for individual patients.

A Culture of Teamwork

Embracing the organizational and cultural shifts that come along with including artificial intelligence in decision-making processes is necessary for success. Because machines outperform humans in routine, assembly line tasks, employees should look for the value that AI can bring them by focusing their energy on bringing the human creativity that will turn artificial intelligence insights into innovation.

Companies looking to dive into the world of artificial intelligence should be transparent with employees and have a strategy in place for broad digital transformation – this will help to mitigate internal resistance. Addressing this head-on allows existing employees to see the benefits up front. Ultimately, the enterprises where humans and machines work in tandem as a true team will be the ones that stay competitive as technology continues to infiltrate the business world.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.