As long as there are tasks that we forget about or want to avoid, the artificial intelligence industry will continue to grow. A study conducted for the International Data Corp. confirms as much, predicting that AI’s 2016 revenue of $8 billion will reach $47 billion by 2020.
AI and its exoskeleton have the potential to take the most tedious tasks off anybody’s plate and let them focus on big-picture objectives. For anyone who’s ever said, “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” the AI exoskeleton can augment human labor and automate those small to-do list tasks that lengthen the day.
Some fear that outsourcing those smaller tasks to AI will eventually lead to the automation of bigger items — and even traditional 40-hour-per-week jobs. The notion does hold some merit: McKinsey & Co. reports that AI and available technology can automate 45 percent of current jobs, while 60 percent of jobs could see at least 30 percent of their duties carried out by machinery.
Though we have yet to see widespread adoption of AI technology among companies outside the tech industry, many people are already incorporating the concept of the AI exoskeleton into their working lives to save time and increase productivity.
But what does an AI exoskeleton look like? People hear the word “exoskeleton” and immediately conjure up images of Tony Stark outfitting his Iron Man suit with enough bells and whistles to fly around and fix all the world’s ills. While that’s certainly one superhero-influenced example, chances are you won’t see anyone sporting an exoskeleton in your office’s break room because the best exoskeletons are barely visible.
More often, AI equips humans with a virtual exoskeleton containing algorithms and data-processing tools that help boost output. Think about Lowe’s experimenting with technologies that give its employees a push as they lift heavy products or New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital using machinery to aid rehabbing patients.
Rather than working against us, AI exoskeletons work with us and provide access to collective intelligence that accelerates learning and helps us make better decisions. For example, x.ai acts as an AI administrative assistant that uses machine learning technology to automate the entire meeting-scheduling process, from picking an ideal time and place to exchanging emails with whomever you’re going to meet.
When it’s time to head to the meeting, an app like Gmail will alert you, and depending on where you live, you might even take an automated car to get there.And AI-powered personal assistant tools like OK Roger can let you delegate travel chores like managing flights and booking hotels.
The exoskeleton also empowers people to better adapt to shifting workflows. Rather than force us to change our work habits, it can help us achieve accuracy and precision even when faced with immense complexity. Do you worry that your follow-up emails to colleagues or leads might sound thrown together or grammatically incorrect? A platform like Grammarly will use predictive analytics to help you craft a clean message that strikes the perfect tone for its intended audience.
Or maybe you’re trying to increase awareness for your new product and you need to reach a lot of people at once. Marketing automation platforms like Responsys or Pardot have utilized the AI exoskeleton for some time to deliver targeted, customized messaging to potential customers. Once that has occurred, an automation platform like Salesforce helps you track all your lead interactions, from the first contact to the final conversion.
These tools are all part of the rapidly growing AI exoskeleton and offer a small glimpse of the many ways AI will transform the workforce. In nearly every industry, examples abound of AI-enabled technologies that are allowing us to work more deliberately.
While some envision a future in which corporate executives go behind closed doors to conduct top-to-bottom replacements of their human workforces with robots, the reality is usually different. More commonly, savvy employees discover AI-powered tools and use them to enhance their professional lives. And why wouldn’t they?
As more AI-powered technologies are developed and launched seemingly every day, knowledge workers will be able to harness the power of the exoskeleton to become even more productive. Far from replacing humans, AI exoskeletons can manage those menial everyday duties, pushing us all toward being more productive and focused on big-picture progress.
Omar Tawakol is the CEO of Voicera (formerly Workfit), a company that helps businesses harness the power of voice. Voicera is the platform behind Eva, an in-meeting voice assistant tool that listens in, takes notes, and provides access to Voicera for follow-up items from your meetings. The platform enables post-meeting review, highlights, and sharing through multiple integrations in your existing collaboration tools; Voicera uses AI and voice as the currency for communication, transforming meetings into productive collaborative sessions. Tawakol has long been fascinated by productivity in the workplace, which he hopes to continue improving upon.