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Ask Dr. Sharkey: The Future of AI in the Workplace

Posted by Dr. Linda Sharkey on 12.12.2019



“Dear Dr. Sharkey, I continue hearing experts discuss the importance of AI in the workplace. To some degree, I agree with their remarks. AI can improve productivity through automation capabilities. However, I’m just not seeing how it will create a more human workplace. Do you think we can actually create deeper, more meaningful connections with AI?”

This is a very interesting question and a very important question that will be studied for decades to come. AI is exciting! It helps people get access to information 24/7, no matter where they are in the world, as long as they have access to the internet. Learning, medical assistance, hiring, interviewing, assessing someone’s state of mind: these can all be done through AI. Driving will be a huge benefit for the elderly and those that are impaired. In fact, there are far too many pluses to even list here.

And there is no question AI is here to stay. There's little doubt it will only get more and more sophisticated and do more things that humans do as time goes on. In fact, there is currently a study being done on a Swedish robot that conducts the interview of candidates for jobs. 

It was discovered that not only could the bot, Tengai, interview many more people in a brief period of time, but also people tended to be more honest in their answers. It is not clear why that is but it was hypothesized that because it was not a real person, people felt less compelled to color the truth.  

I think the question you raise is yet to be answered and understood. Time will only tell how much human interaction will be enhanced or minimized by AI in the workplace. These studies will continue for years. My own belief from personal observation is that AI will free people up from dirty, boring, and unsafe jobs, and that seems to me to be a good thing. 

We also know that humans are very social creatures and therefore will seek out opportunities to interact with others since that interaction provides tremendous happiness -- especially if it is positive and focused on helping and giving back.  

I can only believe that AI will allow for more personal and deep interaction among humans on important and compelling issues and will, ultimately, allow people more time to bond. But time will tell.


To ensure you stay in touch with the human side of internal communications as you move into 2020 and beyond, check out these great tips: Read more

Topics: workplace communication, AI in the workplace, employee relations

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