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  • Writer's pictureGina Marchetti

The Fuss about AI



There has been a lot said recently about AI (artificial intelligence) and how it will displace roles in our working landscape and change our environment. Whilst technology can be a disrupter, if used the right way it can also benefit our society. Like most things it has its place and if we educate ourselves and use it appropriately it can deliver real benefits. There are plenty examples of this with the introduction of the internet and some of the advancements in social media and how these tools have helped solve crime and other social problems.


What’s important is to understand What it is and How it can be used within our social landscape. 

 

What is AI?

I guess some of you are thinking, "Isn’t the answer to this obvious?" Well, let’s make sure that we are all aligned here. 

 

AI is a technological attempt to simulate human intelligence processes by machines, mainly computers, or by teaching the machine – machine learning. These processes include learning, digesting the information, and rules for using the information. It can also include reasoning and self-correction. It aims to create intelligence that can enable machines to predict and know their environment, and ultimately lead to solutions that may be able to solve complex problems. 

 

The key to the solutions or the predictive analytics that AI proposes is DATA. We have all heard the saying – Garbage in Garbage out. The DATA piece is critical for any AI tool to be able to provide credible information – and this is where we will struggle in the adaptation of AI if we don’t accept that this is a crucial element. 

 

AI will learn from the data we give it. It will analyse patterns in our data and propose solutions for us to consider and interpret based on the data we have fed it. It will use this to derive algorithms; the need to constantly ensure that what we feed it is relevant and accurate is paramount as it will continually improve and mature so that its proposals are relevant. There is a watch out here… there can be BIAS in our data, and this will mean that its predictive analysis can also be biased as a result. Interpretation of what it has derived from our data sets is crucial and if our data is biased then that can lead to outcomes that are misrepresented and inaccurate – in some cases discriminatory. 

 

What will Change with AI advancement? 

So, there will be a shift in roles across our workplaces as a result. What could it displace? 

  • Routine Tasks or Repetitive tasks – i.e. document processing; data entry; transactional processing. 

  • Customer Service or enquiries – we have seen this already with Chat Bots and virtual assistants online. 

  • Manual Data analysis – large volumes of data can be more accurately analysed by algorithms than Human interpretation. 

  • Manufacturing and assembly line workers – where there are repetitive inspection type tasks these could be automated.  

  • Retail checkout assistants – We already have self-serve checkouts and tools that can propose items for sale online based on your preferences. 

  • Transport – as we develop self-drive cars and autonomous vehicles, there could be displacement of drivers although this is probably a way off. 

  • Accounting and financial tasks – Bookkeeping, fraud detection, transaction processing.  

 

Whilst any displacement of roles in the workplace can be distressing, the reality is that the next generation of workers is less interested in doing these types of tasks anyway. The future generations are more interested in performing roles that are creative, innovative or dare I say it, working on the development of AI tools. This transition will be fast in some areas and slower in others, but I am of the belief that we should not be overly concerned about this change in the working landscape as these tasks are not the roles that the future generation of workers are aspiring to anyway. 

 

What are the roles that will still be needed in an AI world? 

We all know that in our current working landscape there are serious deficiencies in the areas of Health, education, disability, childcare, aged care, and community services. Human services (which is an umbrella we can bring to these areas in my view) is in dire need of a mass injection.AI will not solve any of these gaps. In my view it will accelerate the need to inject more resources into these areas; the data and the predictive analytics that AI will bring us will tell us that to solve this problem and other issues around human centred services will be more apparent – if it isn’t already.  

Skills like emotional intelligence, creativity, interpersonal communication and interaction and an ability to think through complex scenarios are where our need will continue. 

Roles that will be needed include: 

  • Creative professionals – writers; artists; musicians; filmmakers 

  • Therapists and Counsellors – promoting emotional support and empathy. 

  • Leadership and management – Strategic vision and thinking, leading and motivating workplace teams. 

  • Teachers and educators – yes, these roles will “lean” on AI for content, but the delivery of the content to be relevant and meaningful is still a Human centred task. 

  • Healthcare professionals – AI will provide more data and insights on treatment and diagnosis, but nurses, doctors, carers, therapists will continue to be needed  – this hole will not go away. 

  • Emergency responders and Crisis mgmt. – police officers, fire fighters, paramedics. 

 

The irony of the whole situation is that the technology that we have today is in a way promoting a less centred approach to solving major issues in our society. Everyone is operating digitally – rather than personally – and the GAP is widening. Just observe next time you are with Gen XX how many are conversing through digital means rather than verbally – and they are in the same room!! 

 

While AI may augment and support professionals in these roles by automating certain tasks and providing data-driven insights for them to leverage, the core aspects of human judgment, creativity, empathy, and social intelligence remain essential and difficult for AI to fully replicate.  


Let’s hope for humanity’s sake, that it stays that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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