AI & Management, a Shared Future
Mar 19, 2020 · 3 min read
In recent years, AI has evolved exponentially and is now part of our everyday lives, from social media recommendations to banking and finance industries. More interesting yet, it is slowly securing itself a lasting place in managerial decision-making.
AI is known as the capability of a machine to think and learn, relying on visual, numerical, and written databases. This can be applied to three main business needs:
Process automation of digital and physical repetitive tasks.
Cognitive insight used to detect and interpret patterns in massive amounts of data.
Cognitive engagement, communicating with employees or clients using natural language.
From these basic categories, we can already get an idea about how AI can be used to enhance companies’ management systems’ performances.
Administration Is for AI
54% of mid-level and executive-level managers’ time is used for administrative purposes. For most, these tasks are neither interesting nor gratifying. It is the typical example of a task set that could be delegated to a software, such as taking care of employees’ schedules and relaying the information to the concerned groups or even writing a report relying on human-collected data. Google Chrome, for instance, already offers a free extension that generates explanations for table graphs with the help of AI.
If widely automated, these kinds of time-consuming tasks would mean more freedom for managers to develop other skills, which would add extra value to their company and allow them to focus on tasks that require more reflection.
It then appears that intelligent machines should be considered our new colleagues. Failure to adopt such systems would prove greatly counterproductive as competitive companies are implementing more and more AI solutions.
This means that managerial positions will be redefined. What will make you stand out from the machine when technological advancements “threaten” to build more and more advanced intelligence forms?
New skill sets are a key factor in building tomorrow’s managers. With uninteresting tasks out of their way, their time can be dedicated to new, different purposes.
Managers will need to rely more on their creativity, having access to new intelligent tools which could, for example, find and report problems automatically before human do. Managers would be the last link in the chain, enabling them to set their focus directly on finding and tailoring the most efficient solutions.
A Time to Develop New Skills
In this 2016 survey by Accenture, managers were asked to name the three skills they will need to succeed throughout the next five years. Although they only take up 7% of a manager’s time, people skills were listed by 20% of respondents.
An expansion in the use of AI for managerial purposes should free up time for managers to reconnect with their teams and work on a long-term vision in order to increase their performances and integrate them better within the company’s culture.
Managers could dedicate more time to brainstorming new ways of giving constructive feedback to their employees and put them on a path to learn new skills, which would empower them and ultimately offer new perspective and opportunities.
From a broader angle, the AI revolution outcomes can be compared to those of previous industrial revolutions. Robots are not going to steal jobs but change the way we conceive our approach to those jobs and create a plethora of new roles, relying more heavily on social skills, creativity and network building. The advent of AI will will lead to deeper automatized optimization and give managers a better view on important matters, giving them the opportunity to fully commit to finding durable solutions and organizing common objectives within companies.