London, UK, September 06, 2018
Today Tata Communications released a new study based on input from 120 global business leaders that envisions a positive impact of AI in the future workplace. Shifting the conversation from dystopian fears toward human collaboration and cognitive diversity, the study identifies how AI can diversify human thinking rather than replace it. The study identifies opportunities for businesses and employees based on insights from leaders such as Tony Blair, Executive Chair of the Institute of Global Change and former UK Prime Minister, who predicts that “AI will allow us to do what it is that we are uniquely meant to do: focus on high-level thinking, strategy, and paving the way for innovation.”
Key findings of the new study include:
Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley professor and co-author of the report, notes that “the prevalent narrative around AI has focussed on a ‘Singularity’ – a hypothetical time when artificial intelligence will surpass humans. But there is a growing interest in ‘Multiplicity’, where AI helps groups of machines and humans collaborate to innovate and solve problems. This survey of leading executives reveals that Multiplicity, the positive and inclusive vision of AI, is gaining traction.”
Co-author Vinod Kumar, CEO and Managing Director at Tata Communications, points out that, “AI is now being viewed as a new category of intelligence that can complement existing categories of emotional, social, spatial, and creative intelligence. What is transformational about Multiplicity is that it can enhance cognitive diversity, combining categories of intelligence in new ways to benefit all workers and businesses.”
In addition to the survey of 120 leading executives, the study included 15 in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, executives and thought-leaders, as well as discussion forums that brought together internationally renowned experts from the fields of AI, machine learning, design, art, government, politics, ethics, entrepreneurship, behavioural economics, journalism, engineering and human resources.
Other key findings include:
There is growing consensus that diversity of thinking on projects yields better outputs. Business executives believe that AI could help create and maintain working groups that optimise this cognitive diversity.
Almost all (93%) business leaders agree that AI can enhance employee engagement. AI has potential to assess each employee’s skills and innovation priorities, and suggest activities to spark creative thinking throughout the organisational hierarchy. This can democratise the creative process and increase engagement of all workers.
Business is increasingly multicultural, but a lack of understanding of languages and cultures can be a barrier to collaboration. Most (80%) of leaders surveyed agree that AI could facilitate team composition, organisation and communications, especially for global teams.
Most (75%) executives envision AI creating new roles in their businesses. AI has potential to free employees from tedious repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus much more on communication and innovation. Work will move from being task-based to strategic, enabling workers to enhance their curiosity and creative thinking.
The new study will also be the focus of a panel session during DISRUPT SF 2018 on September 7th at 03.50pm PST. Watch the live stream here featuring visionary influencers in the field of Artificial Intelligence: Timnit Gebru (Google AI), Chris Ategeka (UCOT) and report co-author Ken Goldberg (UC Berkeley).
Businesses must establish a culture of digital transformation to prepare employees for AI in the workplace. This is the concept of multiplicity. Through embracing multiplicity, and not fearing singularity, the combination of humans and AI can be a force for good.