Automation in 2018: AI is Not Here to Take Over but to Help

jeremy / March 7, 2018

Until only a few years ago, the idea of smart computers becoming a vital part of our business teams seemed very close to a science fiction movie. Though AI has been a major buzzword for quite some time now, it wasn’t until recently that we could actually see artificial intelligence coming of age.

Now we’re being told that our customers would rather communicate with our robotic counterparts than to allow for the “human touch” to drive their purchasing decisions and enrich their experiences.

But, is this really as bad as we’ve come to believe?

With AI becoming an omnipresent force in our workplace environments, the fear of being replaced by tireless, infallible and cost-effective digital assistants has become a reality. News flash – we’ve gotten it all wrong. Digitalisation is here to simplify and improve our lives, not to rob us of our livelihoods.

This is why AI won’t take our jobs, at least not any time soon.

The True Purpose of AI

We have to agree that concepts surrounding artificial intelligence sound intimidating. Whether we talk about digital assistants, deep learning, or natural language processing, we tend to imagine these sophisticated, humanoid robots that have somehow breached all barriers of fiction and came out of our screens to mechanise the whole of humanity. But, that way of thinking is becoming really old.

What we’re forgetting about is that, like computers themselves, AI is here to assist us.

Let me put it this way. If you take some time to comb through the latest headlines from the tech and business world, you should notice a couple of things. First, that digital assistants were designed by people for people. And, this doesn’t only include our customers, but ourselves and our colleagues too.

For example, a study by Harvard Business Review has recently revealed that reduction of customer effort is the first step towards business success. By removing friction from their (customer) journeys, digital assistants allow us entrepreneurs to automate big chunks of our sales cycles and daily tasks.

Salespeople no longer need to make spreadsheets and enter customer data manually, nor do they need to risk conversions by relying on their gut instincts alone. Customer support reps are freed from the shackles of repetitive work too, as tickets are now collected, analysed, and solved by chatbots.

What Are the Benefits of Chatbots, Anyway?

Speaking of which, let’s return to those headlines to notice another important thing. Wherever you look, you’ll find that the main benefits of chatbots are effectiveness, 24/7 availability, and cost reduction. But why do we keep insisting that these things represent a threat to our current positions?

When it comes to repetitive work and routine tasks, chatbots can do them all.

Let’s take a look at SnatchBot, for instance. Being the best chatbot platform around, it helps entrepreneurs to design and implement digital assistants either from scratch or with the help of SnatchBot’s template catalogue. What’s new is that it doesn’t require any budget and technical expertise.

A single SnatchBot bot can easily do work of up to five customer service employees. But, it can’t think instead of them. The point is, AI may take your job if your job doesn’t require any out-of-the-box brainwork. Everything else for which thinking is a precursor will not be up for grabs any time soon.

Chatbots, like AI in general, will only help you do your job more effectively. They will take care of those uninspiring, dull tasks that you don’t like doing anyway, and let you put your time and creative energy into problems that truly contribute to progress and improvement of both your company and career.

Can Machines Deep-Learn Everything?

Deep learning and natural language processing are what allows AI to function an the intellectual level that in some respects is very close to ours. Moreover, both of these concepts are set to make digital assistants increasingly smarter, as both of them enable computers to learn with each action they take.

But, they don’t get to learn by their own preferences. Their learning environments are tailored by the people who control them, and they are instructed to learn only those things that can be useful to their users. AI collects data, analyses it with human-made algorithms, and organizes it into deductions.

It’s like basic math, if you think about it.

And, one can’t conquer the world with math.

It takes out-of-the box thinking and creative innovation for the world to keep going forward. It is ideas that allow progress, after all. Everything else is labour work that can be performed by humans and machines alike. Still, only people have imagination, and only people can design humanity’s future.

Will AI Ever Take Over?

Technology replacing human labour is not a new thing. All of our arguments can quickly be overthrown at the very first mention of the elevator boy. But if we take a look at the grand scheme of things, we’ll see that mechanical elevators make our lives a lot simpler. And, simplicity is what progress is all about.

In other words, the implementation of AI always makes sense in the context of our society as a whole. It’s not some evil force with a greedy consciousness of its own, but a helping tool that in one way or another facilitates our existence. So, let’s talk some more about smart technology and consciousness.

On an intellectual level, the smartest chatbot can definitely match human beings in a limited range of tasks. But, on the biological one, the smartest robot couldn’t even match a cockroach. Being designed and programmed by the people, AI cannot possibly reproduce without us telling it to. We are the ones in total control.

So, the next time your colleagues drew you into a watercooler debate on the overlapping future of AI and humanity, remind them how boring is manual data entry. Without digital assistants, our jobs would be mired in labourious work. Thanks to them, our jobs are easier and meaningful, and still safe.

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