Sometimes I really feel nervous.
With the growth and proliferation of Artificial Intelligence, will we human beings become redundant at work ?
Think about Siri - Apple's personal assistant. It gives you such sensible and intelligent answers and solutions in a jiffy !
Alexa - a personal assistant developed by Amazon. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information, such as news, and it can control home automation system.
Driverless or autonomous cars are being piloted by Google. Again, data mining and data analytics have already become the norm - be an e commerce site or a search engine and many other verticals. When I open my laptop and the net, it shows me advertisement based on the prediction just what I am interested in purchasing, based on my online behavior.
More often I am irritated with the onslaught of messages and advertisement which are bombarded at me. But I must confess that was it not for a reminder from Google, I would have missed my flight once.
Can any of us do without Google maps nowadays? It is so convenient to go to an unknown destination confidently with the help of this fine app . And it is marvelous to see it predict the traffic situation while traversing the way .
Folks, there is no denying the fact that Artificial Intelligence is going to stay and swamp us. The machines will definitely do a much better job than us. It will have 100% accuracy, be 100% bug free , much more cost effective and many times more predictable and reliable.
But what about we human beings ? That is what scares me.
Automation bodes ill for many unskilled and purely skill-based professions.
But it will definitely spell boon for engineers who are highly skilled and technical , who will design, fix and refine the Artificial Intelligent "beings". But they are just a handful. How can they be retained, because if they don’t love their workplace, the most talented ones will always be able to negotiate a higher salary somewhere else.
Here is where the "Human" and the "emotionally intelligent" managers and their value come in.
It is these managers who will be able to motivate them, inspire them, nurture them to greater heights of creativity and innovation and keep them in the organization to build continuity and growth of the organization and the highly technical and competitive initiatives.
We need managers with more "human", who will help others grow and "help people be better at their jobs" . These managers will nurture the people and bring compassion into the weary corporate world . These managers will bring a sense of greater purpose in the highly technical people which will bind them to the organization.
I am reminded of a piece which I read recently. This is a true story recounted by Rahul Bajaj, the MD of Bajaj Auto, who had lead the innovation in his organization and turned around the fortunes of the company.
Many years back, his company had brought in an eminent Japanese professor as a consultant for an ambitious and critical product line introduction. As the professor landed in India, Bajaj went to the hotel to welcome him.
After pleasantries were exchanged with the eminent but terse academic, the conversation went something like this:
Business Leader: “I am the Vice President of Products.”
“That is your designation. I want to know what you do.”
“Well, I make motorcycles.”
“So, how many did you make today?”
“I do not make the bikes myself, I have people who do.”
“Okay, so what do you do?”
“Well, I sell bikes.”
“So, how many did you sell today?”
“I do not sell bikes myself, I have people who do.”
“Okay, so what do you do?”
“I design the bikes.”
“So, how many have you designed today?”
After an uncomfortable silence, Mr. Bajaj spoke
“So, what do you think I do?”
“Well, you have only one job: helping people be better at their jobs.”
This was an eye-opener which gave the business leader great clarity about his role. The next day, the professor visited the company office and ran into the business leader at lunch.
“So, what do you do?” asked the professor once more.
“I help people become better at their jobs.”
“So, how many people have you helped today?”
Let the managers of the world ask this question to themselves everyday. This will help us not getting redundant in this artificially intelligent future.