Artificial intelligence – cooperation between man and machine
November 18, 2020
Technological change comes hand in hand with fears. Many people associate artificial intelligence with the dominance of machines over mankind and the topic of AI as a job killer is well suited for any discussion. But, above all, the cooperation between human beings and intelligent machines offers opportunities.
Machines as job killers?
Cooperation between man and machine? This is actually old hat, because the coupling of human and machine labor was the basis of the industrial revolution. Doubts and fear have accompanied every innovation. But the machine breakers of the early 19th century have remained a marginal note in history. Similarly, the admonishers of the late 20th century were also mistaken when they warned about mass unemployment due to the increase in the use of computers.
Many former professions no longer exist, but new professions have been created. Today, people work with all kinds of digital devices as a matter of course. Many professions are inconceivable without digital support. But what will change as these devices become more and more intelligent? Two facts suggest that the negative utopias regarding humans and super machines that are repeatedly cited will probably not materialize:
The vast majority of people who already work with AI today believe that intelligent support is helpful. Work becomes more productive, more creative and more interesting. AI systems are particularly suitable for routine tasks or complex data analysis.
For the foreseeable future, artificial intelligence will remain “weak” and will only be used in specific, clearly definable sectors. “Strong AI“, which can intellectually compete with the all-round talent of humans, will continue to be in the realm of science fiction for decades to come. Machines will not take over.
However, one thing is clear: Many types of jobs will no longer exist in the future. The washing machine, for example, has made the occupation of laundrywoman obsolete. Something similar is likely to happen in the service sector. Especially routine jobs will disappear. New job profiles will develop to offset this – for example, skilled workers who know how to bridge gaps in the teamwork between people and machines, to optimize cooperation.
Artificial intelligence assists humans
AI tools have become helpful assistants for humans in many areas today. They take over routine tasks and therefore take the burden off human workers.
In industrial production, AI robots are taking over more and more tasks in manufacturing and quality control, thus reducing the error rate.
The superiority of AI support is particularly evident in the service professions. In customer support, for example, standard inquiries can be effectively handled by AI systems. Only in exceptional or difficult cases are they forwarded to the employee. This increases efficiency and customer satisfaction.
What applies to support for intellectual activities also applies to minimizing risks:
To the extent that humans can be dispensed with in extreme situations, robots with artificial intelligence take over dangerous and unhealthy tasks.
Where humans remain indispensable, intelligent exoskeletons (outer skeletons) relieve them of strenuous activities. At the same time, they perform an important function in preventing errors.
In terms of collaboration, it is likely that not only such obvious advantages will pay off. The growing ability of artificial intelligence to simulate human thought processes (cognitive computing) will also lead to more trust between humans and machines in everyday applications. This is because human communication with the respective AI application is improving.
Using AI to combat the shortage of skilled workers
Another argument in favor of human-machine cooperation is the fight against the shortage of skilled workers. About 20 to 40 percent of the average working time of highly qualified employees today consists of “searching for details”. But searching through databases for relevant information is precisely one of the standard tasks of machine learning. The specialist knowledge of expensive qualified employees can thus be better used for the benefit of the company.
In addition, the cooperation of artificial intelligence and human labor means that less qualified workers can also take on complex and demanding tasks with AI tools.
Transformation needs support
It is obvious that in the long run artificial intelligence will change the relationship between man and machine. To move this transformation in a positive direction, the following principles must be observed:
The introduction of artificial intelligence into the most diverse fields of work must be based on its effectiveness as well as on the needs of humans in terms of the type of interaction.
This applies in particular to a far-reaching preservation of self-determination, final decision-making powers and the autonomy of the users of AI systems.
With the ongoing improvement of artificial intelligence, the keyword “lifelong learning” is becoming ever more important.
Innovative companies not only face the challenge of using the advantages of artificial intelligence profitably and specifically in the workflow. At the same time, successful change management in the respective company is required, i.e., the earliest possible involvement of all those affected by the transformation process. Above all, this requires trust. Establishing a culture of change promotes the acceptance of human beings working with intelligent machines.
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