The buzz in mainstream media about artificial intelligence revolves around two popular use cases: automation and augmentation. The myths surrounding the rise of robots in the workplace have led to questions about how humans and machines will interact.
Often, the fear of robots taking over “overshadows the greatest AI benefit,” said Svetlana Sicular, research vice president at Gartner.
“AI augmentation – a combination of human and artificial intelligence, where both complement each other,” she said.
Steven Miller, a professor of information systems at the Singapore Management University, believes in a ‘human-machine symbiosis’.
“The imperative for every organization in this new age of AI-enabled smart machines is to find the right combination of using highly adaptable and versatile human employees with highly efficient and consistent machines that are increasingly intelligent, though in limited ways,” he said.
Despite rapid progress in AI research, “humans will still be more versatile, more adaptable, and more capable” of interpreting “unquantifiable contexts,” Miller said.
As HR plays an increasingly strategic role in business, HR professionals are turning to software that can handle much – if not all – of the grunt work of filing documents and logging HR data, or coordinating processes, such as onboarding new hires or managing payroll and benefits.
Augmenting HR work leaves practitioners free to focus on more crucial aspects of the job, such as identifying talent gaps and maximizing the potential of human capital.
In talent management, for instance, recruitment experts such as Stacy Zapar and Brett Reed recommend revamping inefficient, outdated methods and turning to technology to augment work. But they are also keen on retaining that ‘human touch’ in nurturing talent relationships.
“Great recruiters know how to leverage technology in a way that enables them to work smarter, faster, better, while still creating that relationship-driven recruiting experience,” Zapar told HR Tech News. For her, augmenting HR and recruitment work is about using AI in the right places.
Reed echoes the same sentiment: “How can we take this technology and use it to automate and augment what we’re already doing?” The talent and people leader at SnapTravel suggests using AI-enabled tech to manage records, benefits, payroll, and even employee surveys.
“If you can automate it, automate it, get that off your plate, give that to technology,” said Reed.
“Next step is augmenting. We have a global team, so things like Skype and Google Hangouts are key to be able to see somebody face to face and just build a different connection with them,” he said.