The adoption of advanced technology in the workplace is ushering in a new industrial revolution. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are transforming today’s workplace by optimizing tasks, yielding greater insights and improving efficiency for better results.
AI uses computer systems to simulate human intelligence processes at rapid speeds. These processes may include learning, reasoning and self-correction for applications such as speech recognition and machine vision. Machine learning is a type of AI that enables computers to learn without being explicitly programmed. By analyzing large amounts of data, machine learning searches for patterns and adjusts program actions accordingly.
Research firm Forrester predicts investment in AI will increase by more than 300% in 2017 over the prior year. Businesses will use AI to gain powerful insights for faster decision making in areas such as strategic planning, marketing, product development and e-commerce.
The cost of computing has dropped rapidly as computing and digital storage capacity has increased. Machine learning and AI are being used to provide insight into customer behavior and anticipate consumer queries based on the analysis of past behavior and the collective patterns of similar customers.
AI is being used to improve customer call centers by reducing hang-ups and customer meltdowns. The technology anticipates the emotional tone of customers by detecting key words and then alerting call center representatives to employ techniques that better manage the conversation. Voice-activated systems can automatically send electronic messages.
Companies are also using AI and machine learning to screen resumes based on criteria possessed by successful hires. In a tightening job market, AI can enable employers to search out candidates in the marketplace before they even approach the company. Recruiters can adjust the criteria based on actual hires so the technology continually learns and yields better results.
AI holds the promise of gaining greater insight into employee behavior and satisfaction. AI can anticipate employees’ next actions and needs, based on their past performance and inquiries. Machine learning can analyze each employee’s individual workstyle via an intranet system and then automatically connect the employee to an array of information, tools and experts customized to optimize performance.
AI has the added potential to improve employee satisfaction. By streamlining work processes and enabling employees to work quicker and more effectively, AI aims to reduce workplace frustrations and engage employees in more purposeful and meaningful work.
 Definition of machine learning found at TechTarget, http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/machine-learning.
 “Forrester Predicts Investment in Artificial Intelligence Will Grow 300% in 2017,” by Gill Press, Forbes, Nov. 1, 2016. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2016/11/01/forrester-predicts-investment-in-artificial-intelligence-will-grow-300-in-2017/#6805b0ca5509
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