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How to Prepare Employees to Work With Artificial Intelligence

Updated on April 11, 2018
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AI is coming, whether we are ready for it or not. I write about how RPA, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence can be a force for good.

The 3 E’s of a Successful Transition to Machine Learning

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Few things can make employees more nervous than the dreaded, “C” word. In this case, meaning “Change.” The latest developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning are already bringing sweeping changes to business. AI products can automate mundane tasks, do in minutes what previously took days, and handle vast amounts of data.

To a business owner, this sounds like a good investment. Our fictional owner will call a meeting to introduce their employees to the new AI initiative. Like most meetings, this one will be filled with questions and employees jostling to put in their two cents. They have many questions about artificial intelligence. This is, after all, a new frontier for humanity.

“How will the AI impact the future of the company?” they might ask.

“Does the AI get a manager?”

“Is this where we should be putting our resources?”

What these questions really ask is, “Are you replacing us with robots?,” and, “I am worried about my job and want to know if I have a future here.”

The answer to that question is an unequivocal, “Yes.”

Not only do employees get to stay but the right people will have their roles expanded. According to Forbes Magazine, “Technology would not only make jobs easier, it will also take away many of the mundane tasks we have to perform, thus freeing us up for more enjoyable work.”

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Educate

Employees who already understand this point are sure to get excited about the adoption of AI. Like with any new technology, there will a learning curve. That’s why the first meeting is the beginning of an education campaign to get everyone on-board. To accomplish this, our business owner must show their employees how AI will benefit them in the long run.

Re-training today’s workforce to work with AI has a double-edged benefit according to the Entrepreneur. Employees gain valuable skills for their future and become more valuable to the company.

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Entrepreneur noted that “problem finding is still uniquely human.” Meaning that our newly-trained employees will show AI the problem, becoming managers. These AI managerial roles will be something new in business. For the people who learned about AI and who want to have more independence in their jobs, AI adoption is a perfect opportunity.

That really nervous employee now has more security in their future. Not only that, but they want to know everything there is to know about AI. As they train for their new role, the manager will send them to multiple sites so they understand how they can align their skills. There are multiple training courses offered by AI software companies, such as the Automation Academy from WorkFusion.

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Empower

The AI products have been purchased, and new employees trained. Now, there is one thing left to do. Empower the employees to think critically and find problems that AI can fix. Micromanagers need not apply in this new, AI-driven economy. As Forbes mentioned, managers will need to provide the roadmap to the AI roles. Then, they must take a step back and allow employees to take charge. Our nervous employee from the introductory meeting now becomes a valuable asset. They are free from the drudgery to think creatively.

Nobody can predict what the future will hold. Not long ago, working with AI sounded like a takeover of human jobs. As Forbes pointed out, it’s not a matter of human vs. machine, but human and machine. Companies who take steps to invest in both human and machine capital will be the ones to reap the greatest benefits.

© 2018 Sasha Kogan

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