Employee vs. Machine

Original article was published by Anthony Carella on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


A lot of companies are experiencing a computerized remolding, and the implications of this process may not be fully recognizable. Employees have to adapt to the significance of software and data in their line of work including electronics, automotive, and machinery. With Artificial Intelligence’s ability to demonstrate intelligent algorithms and analytical solutions, the value of data has increased. However, for some employees, the introduction of A.I. may encourage them or bring fear. They may see a future where the machines will replace human work and many people will be out of jobs.

Alternatively, some people are fascinated by this evolving technology, “The growing use of Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri assistants are good examples” (Lichtenthaler, 2019). But some employees would rather work with actual associates rather than virtual ones. Corporations have to know how their workers feel about implementing this technology to gain any benefit. It may depend on certain situations and the positive and negative implications. Executives must know if their firms are ready for A.I. through employee feedback.

What’s the attitude?

The main purpose of A.I. is to replace human workers in order to make operations run more efficiently. Though this may seem like companies are cashing in on this technology, workers may not be so fond of the transition. German economist, Ulrich Lichtenthaler coins negative attitudes towards A.I. as “no-human-interaction (NHI)” (2019). These employees prefer to have face to face interactions with their coworkers “based on empathy and emotional intelligence” (2019). However, these opinions could limit the broad possibilities of using A.I., even if the benefits are substantial. This puts companies in a tight spot if they receive an opposing attitude from their workers. For example, back in 2018, the introduction of Google’s Duplex technology created some negative feedback. “Based on various functionalities, the technology comprises a personal assistant able to make, for example, a reservation by calling a restaurant with a close-to-human voice” (Lichtenthaler, 2019). Companies are going to have to face some controversy and opposition in the near future on whether A.I. will suit their workers.

On the other hand, positive or “buy-in” attitudes which are termed “intelligent-automation (IA)” (Lichtenthaler, 2019). like the idea of working alongside Artificial intelligence. These workers are more balanced on the pros and cons rather than dwelling on the negative possibilities. They focus on how this technology is making the work process convenient and optimal. Unlike their NHI (Non-Human-Interaction) counterparts, these workers would prefer to implement decisions based on rational thought, not based on empathy.

Where do companies go from here?

With the growing popularity and advantages of A.I., there will be a shift towards more positive opinions. Companies are going to have to face some challenges on whether A.I. and workers can coexist in the workplace. They also have to think about expanding competition among other businesses. Human and artificial intelligence is going to give key competitive advantages in the future and there may not be an alternative to address certain attitudes.

Sources:

Lichtenthaler, U., 2019. Extremes Of Acceptance: Employee Attitudes Toward Artificial Intelligence. [online] Www-emerald-com.gate.lib.buffalo.edu. Available at: <https://www-emerald-com.gate.lib.buffalo.edu/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JBS-12-2018-0204/full/pdf?title=extremes-of-acceptance-employee-attitudes-toward-artificial-intelligence> [Accessed 12 October 2020].