Innovazione: How to enhance human capabilities, with artificial intelligence.

The real strength of artificial intelligence lies in knowing how to amplify human abilities

MILAN – Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help leaders to rethink and transform their companies through a collaboration between man and machine, which will give a new form to companies and markets. This is the prediction that the two IA experts of Accenture present in their new book “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI”. The book explains in detail how, through a rethinking of business processes, it is possible to use AI to increase the level of innovation and profitability.

The text – based on the skills of the authors and on quantitative and qualitative research conducted on 1,500 companies – addresses the widespread thinking that AI systems will progressively replace man in the workplace. While this will be true for some professions, where a portion of the tasks will be automated through the AI on the other, the real strength of the technology lies in knowing how to amplify human capabilities. “To fully exploit the benefits of artificial intelligence, business leaders must transform the relationship between employees and machines with a view to collaborative intelligence: this is what clearly emerges from our research – commented Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Accenture, one of the writers of the book -. It is not about creating ‘artificial supermen’, but using technology to equip people with more skills and competences so that they can get better results from their activity and learn faster ».

The collaboration between man and machine opens the way to what the authors call the “third wave” of industrial transformation: the first, which owes its start to Henry Ford, concerned standardized processes; the second one, which reached its peak in the 90s with the movement of reengineering of business processes, concerned the automated processes instead. The third wave has instead given rise to what the authors call “missing middle”, the space in which men and machines work together to achieve substantial increases in company performance.

In the “missing middle”, the man works with intelligent machines to take advantage of what each part does best; the man deals with the development, training and management of the various applications of AI, while the machines return to man greatly enhanced capacity, such as the ability to process and analyze in real time a large number of data coming from a multitude of sources. To fully exploit the strength of the AI, companies must bridge the gap in the “missing middle” by evaluating the creation of new professions, establishing new types of work relationships between man and machine, changing the traditional management concepts and revising the concept itself. of work. “The extraordinary potential of the AI to make companies evolve represents an ever greater challenge to be tackled urgently,” explained Wilson. With the aim of helping company leaders to rethink their processes and get the most out of AI to amplify human capabilities, we have developed what we call ‘MELDS’, which is a model based on five fundamental principles that companies must follow to adopt artificial intelligence: Mindset (mental attitude), Enterprise (business), Leadership, Data (data) and Skills (capacity). Innovative companies can leverage this model to ride this third industrial transformation and build on the collaboration between man and machine based on AI ».

Human + Machine explains how the upgrading of AI is redesigning business processes into three categories of man-machine interaction in the missing middle, where the AI can achieve extraordinary data-based insights, often elaborated in real time; interaction, in which the AI uses advanced interfaces such as voice-activated processing of natural language; and personification, in which the AI works in synergy with sensors, motors and actuators that allow the robots to share the work space with the man and undertake a physical working collaboration.

The book also identifies three macro-categories of new professionalism in the “missing middle”, thanks to which companies will be able to guarantee a successful application of artificial intelligence: the trainers, who will be called to educate intelligent systems – helping those who elaborate the natural language and language translators to improve results – and algorithms on how to imitate human behaviors; the explainers, who will have the function of reducing the gap between technological developments and concrete applications at the business level, clarifying the functioning of complex algorithms to non-technical professionals; and the sustainers, the figures dedicated to the proper functioning of intelligent systems, as instruments created at the service of man, to simplify our work and our life.


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