The future of AI and automation in the workplace

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    Wednesday16Jan 2019
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    Guest Blog: Stacey McIntosh, editor-in-chief of Sage Advice UK, explores the benefits of AI and automation for different industries as well as businesses of all sizes.

Rarely a day goes past without the media promoting the latest piece of artificial intelligence or automated technology that will change the workplace forever. However, once you’ve removed all the hype behind these technologies, what are there benefits that your business can reap today?

What is AI and automation?

There’s certainly plenty of misunderstandings about the potential of artificial intelligence and automation within the workplace. Firstly, many people confuse the terms AI and automation and the difference between them. Thankfully, both terms can be easily simplified: AI attempts to mimic the human ability to think and do while automation follows pre-programmed orders and rules, as shown in the graphic below:

Will robots take our jobs?

Many UK workers fear that a high number of jobs may be lost as a result of the wide-scale implementation of AI and automation. However, while automation can be brilliant at completing monotonous, repetitive tasks and AI can be programmed to mimic human ability, these technologies aren’t currently capable of creative nor innovative thinking.

Therefore, when businesses implement these technologies, it opens up the door for staff to move into more innovative roles, which require creative thinking or working alongside AI to become more productive.

What are the benefits of AI and automation for small businesses?

Lastly, there is a belief that the benefits of AI and automation are reserved for big businesses with big budgets. However, similarly to how personal home assistants have become relatively cheap for households, there are many ways small businesses and start-ups can take advantage of these technologies today.

Whether it’s getting bots to respond to your emails, sharing documents via the cloud, automated invoicing and accounting or using chatbots, these technologies have the potential to make a huge difference to the productivity and profits of businesses of all sizes.

Find out more about the business benefits of these technologies in Sage’s latest guide to AI and automation.

@sageuk

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