The Future of AI is the Future of Work

06.21.2022 | By Mark Speyers

Before becoming CEO at SymphonyAI, Sanjay Dhawan worked on voice-assisted technologies for cars. The auto-tech sector gave Dhawan considerable insight into how to integrate AI into diverse business operations while satisfying customer demands and ensuring safety. It also gave him a clear vision of AI and its potential to transform the future of work.

Sanjay sees a paradox in the proliferation of AI today. AI is pervasive and natural in consumer markets (e.g., Amazon and Netflix’s recommendations, Alexa and Siri executing voice commands, and autonomous driving technology). But it has not necessarily made a similar, widespread impact on the world of work for most people. Yet, the shift is coming quickly.

“AI is going to solve business enterprise problems in a totally transformative way,” he said at a Zinnov Confluence in March. “When you combine vision, voice, and other AI technologies together, it’s going to change the way enterprises operate.”

Speaking at the recent Bank of America Securities 2022 Global Technology Conference, Sanjay fleshed out those ideas further, noting that “AI augmentation of the enterprise worker” will solve business problems and improve productivity.

By using AI for work that it is well-equipped to optimize, such as pattern recognition, repetitive tasks, and large-scale data analysis, workers will be able to focus on more creative, problem-solving tasks, thus increasing productivity alongside job satisfaction. Putting tailored AI solutions into the hands of the workers themselves – like thousands of bank risk analysts, for example – instead of small, centralized teams of data scientists will be the key to unlocking this potential. 

To illustrate how AI solutions can be put into the hands of workers, consider how voice-activated technologies like the ones Sanjay described are already becoming game-changers in the workplace. As Peter Verstraeten, CEO of Proceedix, a SymphonyAI Industrial solution, recently wrote in The Engineer, “The connected worker represents the next step in the evolution of the shop floor in manufacturing.”

Proceedix leverages cloud computing and mobile and wearable technology to provide human workers with procedural and instructional support. In his piece, Peter explained how agricultural equipment manufacturer AGCO used Proceedix technology and Google Glass headsets, smart phones, tablets, watches, and other smart devices to improve quality control inspections and maintenance at their plant in Jackson, Minnesota. The resulting “connected workers” were 25 percent faster, committed fewer errors, and prevented other issues.

Demonstrating its flexibility across industries, AI is also empowering professionals in new ways in financial institutions. SymphonyAI Sensa recently won the top prize in the Commercial Technology, Data Security Solutions category at the 2022 Edison Awards for SensaAML™ , which combats money laundering and terrorist financing and helps financial institutions comply with regulatory requirements.

The AGCO and Edison Awards illustrate SymphonyAI’s two-fold vision of how AI changes the nature of work. First, AI can perform some of the repetitive, time-consuming, uncreative tasks that are part of most jobs today. Second, AI can also provide more insights to boost the speed, efficiency, and productivity of people engaging in mindful professional work, too.

SymphonyAI Industrial’s Proceedix solution speeds up tractor inspections because technicians can move from one step of the inspection process to the next simply by saying the word “proceed” or tapping their smart device. Rather than diverting their attention to a punch list or instructions, which can cause frustration and waste time, workers focus on testing and observing – the part of their job that requires human perception, experience, and judgement.

Additionally, SymphonyAI Sensa’s SensaAML “drastically reduce[s] the time to identify genuine anomalies” that could represent financial crimes, the Edison judges noted. In concrete terms, SensaAML eliminates around 60 percent of the false positives that anti-fraud screeners routinely detect and investigate even though they aren’t actual causes for concern. That reduction of false positives frees analysts from wasting time investigating dead-ends. Simultaneously, those same analysts now use SensaAML to find 20 percent more cases of truly suspicious activity compared to using legacy systems.

These observations are consistent with the MIT Sloan School of Management’s recent review of “The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines” by MIT researchers David Autor, David Mindell, and Elisabeth Reynolds. While AI at present appears to be replacing people in isolated tasks, it is affecting every occupation while generating new jobs and positions in numerous industries. “The future of AI,” they conclude, “is the future of work.”

Incremental AI-related changes and shifts can add up to transform entire industries. Karin Bleiler, senior vice president of revenue solutions at SymphonyAI Media, recently noted in TV Tech that media and entertainment finance teams can learn lessons about AI and data sharing from the music and consumer package goods (CPG) industries. These lessons, in turn, could change how the media industry approaches revenue streams – and make CFOs more strategic decision-makers.

AI is a key differentiator in capitalizing on the massive amounts of data that the music and CPG industries generate. Bleiler noted that media and entertainment CFOs, like their counterparts in the music industry, could seek to require distributors to share audience and content data. Meanwhile, the CPG industry has proven the game-changing power of AI to harness predictive analytics to monitor supply chains, inventory and other logistics.  Media and entertainment companies can use similar tools to predict viewership rates and other audience behaviors. 

At SymphonyAI, we are pioneering these changes for our customers and for our employees. Our new CHRO, Jennifer Trzepacz, for example, is a leader in organizing the next generation of work, made possible by AI.

As Jennifer recently discussed in an interview with WorkLife, companies need to upskill and reskill their workforces to be more comfortable with AI handling some tasks while helping them complete others more effectively. The result, Jennifer said, is the creation of a new generation of talent – one that isn’t determined by age but, instead, by the joining of digital natives’ and experienced professionals’ skillsets.

The hard work of improving enterprise AI in the past decade is now bearing fruit. At SymphonyAI, we’re transforming businesses, shaping a new generation of talent, and creating the future of work.

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