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Seeking a balanced scorecard: The pros and cons of AI

Artificial Intelligence offers many positives in the workplace. It can help businesses to enhance productivity, streamline operations, and, importantly, drive innovation.

Apply technology to the business setting. Image (C) Tim Sandle.
Apply technology to the business setting. Image (C) Tim Sandle.

AI is rapidly changing how we live our lives and how we work. From recruitment to physical workplace robots, AI is the new work colleague and perhaps one we’re all a little wary of.

Chris Raven CEO at business growth agency Heur has explained the positives and negatives of AI in the workplace to Digital Journal. In doing so, Raven considers what this means for the future of work.

Positives of AI

According to Raven there are many potential business benefits from AI: “Artificial Intelligence offers many positives in the workplace. It can help businesses to enhance productivity, streamline operations, and, importantly, drive innovation.”

Raven divides the benefits into:

Boosted Efficiency

With this, Raven says: “AI technologies can automate more menial tasks which allows employees to focus and be more granular on complex jobs that require more time that may not have been possible before. AI can save an employee a massive amount of time which boosts efficiency and productivity.”

Data Driven Analysis

In terms of information process, Raven finds: “AI can process vast amounts of data and identify patterns, trends, and insights that humans that have other things on their mind might miss. With these insights, businesses can make strong, data-driven decisions and optimise processes. Predictive systems can look at historical data and to accurately predict future trends, customer behaviour, and market demands. They also help businesses to anticipate changes and make proactive decisions that will enable success in the long run.”

Bolstered Security

Raven explains that data theft is at an all-time high AI can provide a soliton to this: “AI is adept in detecting and preventing cyber threats. These systems continuously monitor network traffic which identifies anomalies before they become a bigger problem for your business. It can also help in fraud detection and prevention by analysing patterns and user behaviour.”

Streamlined Recruitment

For human resources, the advantages are: “Recruiting can be difficult, especially post Great Resignation and workplace trends such as ‘resenteeism’ and ‘quiet quitting’ on the rise. However, AI-powered tools can automate candidate screening and initial assessments, which can ease the recruitment process and give you greater peace of mind. Once the hiring is done, AI can help you further with employee onboarding and initial training.”

Improved Employee Productivity

Can AI get more out of people at work? Raven thinks so: “AI-powered virtual assistants and productivity tools can help individuals manage their tasks, schedules, and priorities more effectively, which will especially help employees that can become easily distracted or work flexible hours or WFH. The benefits of these systems are endless as they are able to provide reminders, automate routine activities, and offer personalised recommendations, which we all need once in a while.”

Negatives of AI

In contrast, there is a dark side to AI, which Raven comments on: “It’s important to realise that while AI can provide lots of positives, it also raises ethical challenges in the workplace, such as privacy concerns, bias in algorithms, and the impact on jobs.”

In spelling out the specifics, Raven sees:

Loss of Jobs

By which he explains: “What you’ll find is that most businesses’ hesitation to embrace AI is a fear that it will take over human-led jobs. Artificial intelligence and automation can and will replace certain jobs. However, it’s important to note that while certain tasks may be automated, AI can also create job opportunities and can change human capabilities for the better.”

Ethical Issues

In terms of business ethics, Raven acknowledges: “AI systems mainly rely on algorithms and data, which can introduce biases if not implemented with care and consideration. Biases in AI can lead to discriminatory conclusions which can perpetuate existing inequalities which can be incredibly damaging for businesses. It is important to ensure that these systems are fair, transparent, and accountable.”

Over Reliance on AI

With overall business strategy, Raven mentions: “While Artificial Intelligence can boost efficiency of certain processes, overreliance on AI systems without proper human management will become problematic. AI algorithms are not yet perfect and can make errors  which will require human intervention. It’s important to find a good balance between AI and human decision-making, which can prove to be a long learning curve.”

Cost Challenges

AI is not inexpensive: “Incorporating AI technologies in the workplace can be expensive, which, with most businesses feeling the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis, can be an unnecessary cost that many businesses simply can’t afford.”

Impact on Work-Life Balance

Will AI further exploit workers? Raven mentions: “While AI takes care of the menial, time-consuming tasks, there is a risk that employees will be under more scrutiny and managers will have higher expectations due to the increased productivity. It is crucial to check in with your employees regularly and manage the incorporation of AI in a way that supports work-life balance and prevents employee burnout.”

Raven concludes: “The reality is that the landscape of work is likely to change due to the leaps and bounds AI has made in recent years. However, there are human processes and skills that robots cannot replicate, such as creativity, emotional intelligence and critical thinking.”

He adds: “In order to adapt to the AI boom, it is important to reconfigure your workplace accordingly. As menial jobs are overtaken by AI, it’s crucial to invest in reskilling your employees, seek innovation where you can and ensure best and ethical practices are used when incorporating AI in the workplace.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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