Abstract summary: Artificial Intelligence brings a lot of promise and the business and education industries are expected to continue growing. Not only does AI provide accuracy and efficiency, it can work tirelessly and ensure less risks. However, there are significant challenges holding AI back such as its lack of creative thinking, its impact on the human workforce and the current shortage of AI professionals today.
Almost everyone is joining in the hype about Artificial Intelligence (AI) like any new technology trend. What was once rooted in science fiction movies and stories has become a huge part of our lives. You may have come across AI without even realising it, such as being notified to exercise by your smartphone or using Siri on Apple devices. As amazing as AI sounds, there are always two sides of the same coin. We must acknowledge the fact that there’s a darker side to it that we can’t ignore.
In this post, we dive into reviewing the pros and cons of AI in various fields of business and education.
The Pros and Cons of AI
Pro #1: Accuracy and Efficiency
The human brain has a limit to how much information and resources it can store at any one time. AI, however, is unlimited. It works based on algorithms and previous data records, hence reducing the human error rate. AI is widely used in the education field by both educators and students to solve complex calculations in just a split second! Fascinating, isn’t it?
In business organisations, conversational AI or chatbots are often used as digital assistants to interact with their customers. Conversational AI learns from real interactions using Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is a subfield of AI. NLP makes it possible for computers or software programs to extract phrases and interpret, translate or even generate a response instantly.
Besides identifying potential data leaks and preventing malware attacks, AI-powered software ensures customers, employees and company’s data are kept safe. Exabeam, for example, helps efficiently address threats among millions of signals in real-time, something humans are unable to do.
AI coaching tools, on the other hand, allow employers to remotely monitor employees’ progress and accurately provide individualised coaching that would enhance staff productivity at work. A great example would be Cognito, which guides customer service employees for better phone support.
Pro #2: Tireless and Selfless
Technological inventions are often meant to fill a void, need or want. Humans invented wheels to move goods and cars to travel faster from one point to another. Similarly, AI plays a crucial role in preventing human fatigue. A machine does not require frequent breaks, like humans do, in order for them to produce better results. They can perform continuously without getting bored even if it means working for consecutive hours.
For most businesses, they must be able to operate through different time zones to accommodate international customers. Hence, to prevent decision fatigue and employee burnout, organisations have adopted new technology advancement, such as AI to accommodate employees’ need for rest. When AI is combined with automation, it increases a company's profit by minimizing manpower in the right manner. For example, AI automation allows recruiting managers to receive resumes through an automated applicant tracking system, eliminating the struggle of sorting through CVs and managing outdated data.
Pro #3: Less Risk and Routine
Time and again, most people may feel trapped in a routine of doing the same tasks. It’s human nature! Monotony gradually seeps in and kills one’s productivity and creative thinking in the long run. In any organisation, the lack of productivity prevents an employee from making rational decisions. However, the implementation of AI places logic above all. With these artificial thinkers, right decisions are taken without associating with human emotions. Many risky limitations of humans can be overcome by AI robots such as exploring the ocean floor or travelling to Mars.
With AI, employees are provided personal AI-powered assistant tools like X.ai to perform simple administrative tasks such as scheduling meetings or sending emails. AI data automation that handles routine work allows employees to focus their time on more strategic tasks which deliver greater value to customers.
Con #1: Lack of Creativity
What makes the human brain so amazing is its ability to generate ideas and think out of the box. Each individual has a different sensitivity and intellectual level, which enhances creative thinking. Although machines can aid in designing and creating, they are not guided by feelings like humans are.
Case in point, robotic process automation can be combined with AI to reap the best of both benefits - efficiency and processing power - but it is incapable of inheriting human’s intuitive abilities and most definitely can’t replicate it. At the end of the day, machines can only do what they are being taught, programmed or commanded.
Con #2: Risk of Unemployment
It is undeniable that many organisations opt to move towards a more technological-based environment to reduce their workforce. Automation has proven that it improves productivity in various sectors and grows the world economy as a whole. Despite that, automation and AI have widely threatened the labour market and can be seen clearly in warehouses where robots are used extensively. Whilst it may seem like a huge benefit to replace humans with more efficient robots, what will the world do with an overpopulation of humans who are unable to sustain themselves? What will our identities be without our jobs?
Con #3: Skills Shortage
The main obstacle in adopting AI on a large scale across organisations is the dramatic shortage of AI professionals. Companies working with AI lack qualified employees which restrain them from implementing it in business operations. As an example, AI company Element AI stated in 2018 that less than 10,000 people worldwide possess the skills required to build a fully functional machine learning system.
Although AI technology is in high demand, it is clear that we are facing an AI skill crisis. The shortage of talent slows down the hiring process causing organisations to halt their AI strategies in their business. Advancement in this nascent technology also hits a standstill due to the lack of talent. In short, organisations are required to invest in academic and training programs to help foster and maintain AI professionals.
Optimising technological advancement can transform our lives for the better. When these systems are applied efficiently, the world’s productivity will increase which leads to a better world economic growth.
However, there are still many limitations of AI that have yet to be perfected. Organisations who choose to implement it must take into consideration the disadvantages and use it for the better good to prevent any future conflicts.