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Council Post: In The Rush To Implement AI, Remember The Power Of Human Interaction

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Lee Henderson is the Americas EY Private Leader at EY and a fervent supporter of young entrepreneurs and their businesses.

Artificial intelligence is rapidly evolving, allowing companies to uncover new business opportunities, increase efficiency and gain powerful insights through prediction and modeling. Cutting-edge entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to experiment with and implement this technology as early adopters.

But while AI has immense potential, it’s not a replacement for the people who help entrepreneurs achieve their ambitions.

We’re just starting to realize AI’s potential. It’s important entrepreneurs think critically and remain abreast of not only its opportunities but also the risks it presents: misinformation, bias and copyrights, to name a few. AI is a tool—one that can advance or degrade if not used thoughtfully.

As businesses continue to explore AI, they should stay focused on the big picture: using AI and automation appropriately as part of a mix to increase efficiency, sharpen insight and improve the employee and customer experience. This is not about efficiency at all costs; human interaction matters in the customer journey and in building strong companies. Without a human presence, AI can unintentionally spur costly financial mistakes.

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AI can guide the creative process, identify issues and optimize processes.

The global AI market is expected to reach over $2.5 trillion by 2032, and according to an EY survey of CEOs, 65% “agree or somewhat agree that AI is a force for good,” driving efficiency and positive outcomes.

As people have more experience with AI, it will learn more and sharpen the algorithms that drive its analysis, pattern recognition and problem solving, providing even more value. The combination of AI and human understanding is a powerful team for pressure testing humans’ creative hunches against AI’s ability to audit available data.

There are already many examples of this.

Scientific American reported on new AI technology that can predict with 97% accuracy whether a song will be a hit. Record labels have already been using the technology to test the neurophysiological response listeners had to songs, increasing the estimated financial value of the label.

AI Magazine discussed how in construction, AI tests theories on how to reduce waste. AI is used to estimate how the project can be completed in the most sustainable way. This lowers material waste without sacrificing the construction timeline or building strength, and in some cases helps create buildings that are stronger or more efficient than originally designed, helping reduce financial loss.

AI’s pattern recognition capabilities can also help optimize processes. For example, AI could help increase supply chain efficiency by recognizing conditions that lead to delays. It can have an enormous impact on the medical field, as well, where the detection of changes in patient data could lead to possible diagnoses.

These are a few examples of how AI can be leveraged to differentiate a business. The possibilities for using this technology to ideate, problem solve and improve processes across industries are endless.

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AI can increase the strategic contributions of your workers and improve their experiences.

AI can also take on repetitive, time-consuming tasks (often referred to as robotic process automation) such as document production, social media post drafts and automated communications.

Letting AI tools absorb the bulk of an activity can free employees to focus on strategic work. The time saved creates new opportunities for innovation through interaction. Person-to-person collaboration spurs idea generation and deepens the emotional connections that underpin organizational culture.

Workers are less inclined to leave jobs where they feel connected and work on projects that interest them. Allowing AI to take on tasks that free up time is a win-win: The employee likely feels more satisfied in their role, increasing the value of their contributions, and the employer likely has less turnover, which can have a significant impact considering the cost of recruiting and training.

AI can impact a company’s bottom line—for better or for worse.

While AI continues to awe, it’s still a tool and needs people to maximize its effectiveness. People must ask the right questions, consider outputs and weigh decisions considering factors AI can’t discern, such as context, emotion and personality.

AI can pose financial risk if used incorrectly. It’s capable of amassing and analyzing data, but not all data is accurate or unbiased. Making decisions based off bad data can lead to miscalculations, which can be financially costly, especially for small to medium-sized businesses with limited resources.

AI can also spur enforcement, which can be costly. For example, left unattended, AI has been shown to reinforce bias against some humans, which is why NYC passed Local Law 144 requiring that AI tools used in companies’ hiring processes be audited by humans.

Companies in violation of Local Law 144 face a $500 first-time offense, plus $1,500 for all subsequent offenses. If a company is hiring on a rolling basis, this could add up extremely fast.

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Human oversight, and intervention when necessary, is essential to prevent costly missteps. It’s no surprise 43% of surveyed business owners worry about technology dependence, according to Forbes Advisor. The federal government also recognizes the risks of AI, with President Biden signing an executive order in October directing multiple agencies to develop AI standards and regulations to limit the negative health, financial and societal impact of AI. This compounds the fact that AI follows an algorithm; without human oversight, it can make mistakes.

In fact, a study found 70% of people trust buying from human sellers more than technology. These examples prove that the magic of AI is not replacing humans; it’s when AI is deployed to optimize the customer and employee experience.

AI needs people to guide it.

As high-growth entrepreneurs get excited about the ways AI can help their businesses, it’s critical they remember that people are social creatures and thrive on relationships, interaction and advice. AI is powerful, and if used strategically, it can make your business more competitive. But remember that the human touch is often still the most powerful business differentiator.

The views reflected in this article are the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ernst & Young LLP or other members of the global EY organization.


Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?


Source: Fox Business

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