• Alex Lev

Human, Meet Robot: Why People and AI Knowledge Make the Perfect Team

Updated: May 27, 2020

Despite the many benefits AI knowledge is bringing to organizations across the world, the conversation surrounding it is often framed in negative terms: people hear that AI knowledge systems are capable of performing new tasks and begin to fear this puts their own jobs at risk.

However, this could not be farther from the truth. Research has consistently shown that far from being a battle between humans and machines, the rise of AI knowledge is dependent on human collaboration and stands to bring with it many professional benefits. This is because people and software excel in different areas and work best when they use their specific skill-sets to complement each other. After all, regardless of the industry, the world has moved on from the days in which automation and speed—area in which AI excels—are everything. Though they still matter immensely, even more important is the ability to innovate and do things in creative ways, an area in which humans will continue to outpace AI-knowledge systems.

Studies have shown that the best work often comes not from humans or AI-knowledge systems independently, but the two of them working in tandem to accomplish various tasks. Typically, this means each playing to their strengths, with AI being used to complete tasks requiring significant amounts of data analysis in short amounts of time and human input being used to ensure these tasks are done correctly.

German car company BMW provides a strong case for collaboration between humans and AI. Traditionally, the company’s factories have had people working on assembly lines on one side and robots working on another. However, when robots empowered with AI knowledge were given the ability to work directly with the factory workers, the company saw astounding productivity gains of 85%.

This has significant ramifications for industrial operations, which are heavily based on processes that include both repetitive aspects and more creative components. The companies that will gain the most during the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are not those who will swap their hard-working employees for automated machinery, but those who incorporate both into every process.

This is especially true as more companies begin to use Industrial IoT to generate data that can inform decisions related to production. While AI-knowledge solutions can parse through large quantities of data in minutes or even seconds—a process that could take months for a human—the recommendations made do not always perfectly align with the goals of the operation as a whole. Therefore, human input becomes crucial here to provide feedback and oversee the implementation of these recommendations.

The growing ability of AI-knowledge systems to perform difficult and tedious tasks will bring many benefits to all parts of industrial organizations, especially to the operators who will be able to dedicate more of their time to improving these AI-generated processes and putting their best skills to work.

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