Exploiting artificial intelligence’s business potential to its fullest with a human-centric approach

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • 22.10.2018 12:24 pm

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. This technology has quickly jumped from esoteric laboratory to full acceptance, but its long-term potential contributions to business are not obvious yet. AI may be the greatest story of our time, but the business benefits and the actions to take remain somewhat cloudy, whereas employees are still nervous about AI and how it may affect their jobs.

Without transparency, trust and personalisation – three essential pillars – AI could fail. AI’s benefits, therefore, will only be realised by organisations that look deeply into the souls of stakeholders across the value chain. Business will need to embrace a human-centric, ethically-informed approach that minimizes unintended bias and seeks to augment the creative, emotional and constructive capabilities of human beings coupled with the speed, accuracy and scale of machine intelligence. It is human and machine at their best.

Personalisation has become a differentiator for many industries. It does, however, require collecting, analysing and understanding massive amounts of data, overwhelming any company. For AI, the more data, the better, as the technology can be trained for thoughtful interpretations that guide everything from decisions, to detection of security breaches. Only by putting AI to work in a way that reaps business benefits on a hyper-personalised level while reinforcing transparency and trust with key stakeholders  will lead to quantifiable, formative contributions to business.

Here are some concrete steps to take to implement effective AI in any business:

  • Firstly, view AI through a human-centric lens. All business decisions are, ultimately bets on human behaviour. Start with an understanding of what people want and the methods they may use to achieve the desired outcome. AI should augment rather than replace human insights and experiences.
  • Secondly, focus on bringing business value at scale and speed. It is easy to conduct a few small AI test cases and declare success. However, quickly scaling and deploying the technology requires a strategic view that advances machine intelligence throughout the organization. It also requires sensitivity to the changes that AI introduces to everyone – consumers, employees and management. AI at scale and speed means code is built from insight into what is really needed at a human level.
  • Finally, make sure AI is deployed with strict governance and ethical oversight regarding its intent and actions, while ensuring AI’s continuing operations are transparent and deserving of stakeholders’ continued trust.

AI will only succeed if businesses take a human-centric approach. Sociologists may be key in organisations’ initial conversations on AI-related business needs by providing insights into behaviours between the organisation and its stakeholders. To anticipate the expectations of those who will benefit from AI, every system must be understood and designed in terms of human needs, whether it is a consumer-facing app, an employee-facing administrative website, or compliance and regulation monitoring.

“Even pure machine-to-machine interactions require an understanding of the human benefits in order to prioritise features such as cost, reliability and speed, says Sanjiv Gossain, European Head of Cognizant Digital Business. “The smartest strategy is to look beyond traditional technology processes instead viewing AI as a new way of thinking and acting that can fundamentally reshape the business ability to personalise customer offerings, services and experiences.”

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