‘Will a robot do my job?’ was a haunting question plaguing most of us with the recent advent of AI and automation. Many people see the evolution of AI as the end of the human workforce.
As is evident by Elon Musk’s tweet in 2018 in response to delays in manufacturing Tesla’s Model 3 sedan, “excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake... Humans are underrated.” Organisations are learning from such mistakes and, in 2019, will look for the most effective integration of the ‘human’ factor within successful automation deployment. Our future is about collaboration between humans and machines, rather than a competition with each other. Rather than replacing workers, AI can be a tool to help employees work better.
However, research indicates that most jobs involve 20 to 30 different tasks. So far, AI is While the technology is constantly evolving, the strength of AI today is not used to automate jobs, rather to automate administrative and laborious tasks and augment human functions, which in turn increases productivity and performance. Enter Cobots, the latest generation of robotic systems, intended to work alongside humans to transform work.
In most cases, machine learning could perform some tasks better than humans in a given occupation but, it could never perform all tasks needed for the job better than its human counterpart. In fact, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, fewer than 5 percent of occupations can be entirely automated using current technology. However, 60 percent of occupations could have 30 percent or more of their activities automated.
Machine-human collaboration is a model in which humans co-work with artificial intelligence (AI) systems and other machines rather than using them as tools. As in most successful collaborations, each brings to the table abilities that the other lacks. The purpose of machine-human partnerships is to use the particular strengths of both types of intelligence, and even physical capabilities, to fill in the other’s weaknesses.
What we tend to forget is that artificial intelligence is exactly that — artificial. We need to keep in mind that behind the most powerful algorithms are complicated datasets built and labelled by humans who will ultimately be critical in gaining actionable insights from that data. AI will further people’s capabilities, since algorithms have to be updated and humans will need to continuously improve intelligent machines.
Additionally, AI is not so competent at attempting higher value behaviors that rely on creativity, social interactions, complex decision making, services and experiences. The solution then is perhaps to capitalise on the best attributes of humans and robots.
Humans or bots and AI? Both have advantages but an optimised collaboration between humans and AI will beat any of the two alone.