The Question On Everyone’s Mind
It’s been an issue since the Industrial Revolution: technology moves quickly and, sometimes, it’s hard to keep up. Today, as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes ubiquitous in the workplace, it’s easy to wonder,
Will robots replace me?
Humans and AI are Partners, not Rivals
The short answer is, “no, robots won’t replace employees” — at least, not in our lifetimes. But why is this the case? How can we trust this to remain so, with technology growing more advanced every day?
To answer these questions, we can turn to historical precedent. In 1642, French mathematician Blaise Pascal invented the first calculator. Centuries later, in 1967, Texas Instruments released the modern calculator, which can perform a variety of mathematical functions in the palm of the user’s hand.
Before the modern calculator, some mathematicians occupied jobs titled, literally, “calculator.” Perhaps they felt uneasy as technology entered and changed their industry, similar to what employees face today with AI.
However, mathematicians soon recognized the calculator as a partner, not a rival. This landmark device sped up busywork and simple calculations, freeing up more time for exploration and discovery. Mathematics flourished, opening the door to much of modern technology — including AI.
The calculator did not replace mathematicians; it merely changed the nature of their work.
We can expect AI to have a similar effect as the calculator: augmenting occupations and even creating new ones, not eliminating them. That’s why Dinesh Nirmal, the vice president of Data and AI Development at IBM, prefers to call artificial intelligence “augmented intelligence.” As he puts it,
“I would explain augmented intelligence as something where you are augmenting a human being to do their tasks a lot better or more efficiently…” You’re not replacing anyone, but you are augmenting the skill set of that individual.”
For example, Synaptiq recently helped Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP (BAL) to expedite document processing using intelligent automation (AI + robotic process automation). As a result, BAL’s attorneys were able to access data with greater ease, freeing up time provide their clients with a better experience. Read more about our work with BAL in the case study below.
Employees Benefit from AI in the Workplace
Whether you’re a CEO, CIO, or a company’s newest employee, you shouldn’t fear AI. Businesses understand that artificial intelligence is most effective when cooperating with humans, not superseding them. Indeed, many human attributes — such as empathy and genuine creativity — AI can enhance but never replace.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that AI adds freedom and flexibility to many occupations. Today, for instance, AI is allowing employees to work from home as COVID-19 necessities social distancing. You can find out more information about how AI enables a remote workforce by watching our webinar below.