AI and automation is your workforce’s ideal co-pilot
Artificial intelligence, together with automation, are rapidly evolving the landscape of the modern workplace, changing the way that humans and technology interact.
But rather than viewing artificial intelligence (AI) or automation as a replacement for human workers, it's time to recognise these technologies as co-pilots in the realm of workplace collaboration.
To fully grasp the potential of AI in workplace collaboration, it's essential to first distinguish between automation and AI and understand where each excels.
Automation and its role
Automation, including robotic process automation (RPA) and bot workers, is the bedrock of streamlining and optimising routine, rule-based, and repetitive tasks.
This form of technology involves software programs that are trained to mimic repetitive human actions to perform various assignments, ranging from data entries in CRM systems, to automated invoicing, text recognition, and more.
RPAs can operate 24/7 and be used for different industries, from finance, insurance, automotive, healthcare and more.
This technology used to be the domain of larger companies. But it’s increasingly becoming available to all sizes of businesses — and especially SMEs. If used correctly, SMEs can dramatically benefit from RPAs and even level the playing field with larger competitors. In turn, this can help SMEs grow faster and create more jobs for South Africa.
In workplace collaboration, automation's role lies primarily in handling tasks that can be clearly defined, where human intervention isn't necessarily required.
Here, automation is supporting employees in their work by ensuring that these tasks are completed accurately and promptly. Through this support, human workers can focus their energy and capability on more complex, creative and strategic endeavours.
Strengths of AI
On the other hand, artificial intelligence (AI) is not just another tool but a tool that augments human capabilities in unique ways. Unlike automation, AI and machine learning possess the ability to learn, adapt and make decisions based on data analysis. It can comprehend natural language, recognise patterns, and even predict future outcomes.
In workplace collaboration, AI can assist in predictive analytics, customer data management, natural language processing for chatbots, and even creative tasks such as content generation and recommendation systems. However, human intelligence is still required to vet these capabilities and ensure that they make sense.
Harmony of human-AI collaboration
The true power of workplace collaboration is realised when automation and AI are integrated into human workflows.
In this world, humans remain at the centre, contributing their creativity, emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking.
The distinction between automation and AI is essential for organisations seeking to make the most of this transformation.
By striking a balance between human, automation, and AI, organisations can empower their workforce to achieve unprecedented levels of productivity and innovation.
Empowering the workforce is even more important when considering the high rate of unemployment in South Africa. More than ever, we also need to ensure that South Africans are upskilled and equipped from a young age to be able to adapt to the fast-paced technological changes that are altering our world.