Management vs Machine

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly reshaping the operations of many industries and as more and more highly trained workers are being replaced by computers, it raises the question: what will it take to be an effective and efficient manager in the midst of such technological advancement?

Machines have many advantages. They are faster than us, they can perform complex tasks to an extremely high level of accuracy without human error and with the use of algorithms they can even play a part in the decision making process. Self-checkout machines provide a constant reminder of the technological takeover, sparking a divide in opinion. On one hand, from a customers perspective it’s often a quicker way to check out (providing there’s no “unexpected item in the bagging area!”) and from a business perspective machines increase productivity, the don’t require a wage or annual leave; granted they may require repair and servicing once in a while but ultimately they reduce costs. On the other hand, some customers much prefer the traditional cashier- staffed checkout because of the customer service experience and help bagging their goods.

This leads us to recognise our comparative advantage as humans, the human touch. We have the ability to understand other people’s emotions and to utilise our own past experiences that allow us to feel empathy, we can adapt our behaviour to accommodate our audience and express our own feelings, something machines cannot do. Or can they? We are constantly reminded that scientists are striving to create machines with emotional artificial intelligence. Software programmes now exists that have facial recognition capabilities and can decipher our moods and react accordingly.

It is both concerning but exciting to think of the prospective implications this will have on the services industry and particularly on management. In order to remain effective and efficient, managers would need to constantly develop an understanding and identify the areas where machines have short falls, and implement strategies to combat them. For example even if algorithms play an increasingly larger part in the decision making process, the workforce will still rely on an excellent management who will have the ability to encourage, inspire and motivate. As leaders, managers will have to be able to translate the input from machines into clear strategies for the workforce to follow and to be able to understand the implications of the input to keep their work force well informed. This will place greater emphasis on soft skills and emotional quotient (EQ) in the work place.

It will become increasingly important to avoid the overlap of management and machines. Whilst it is absolutely necessary to value the advantages that computers and artificial intelligence technology can bring to several industries, managers will have to embrace their intuition, entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and imagination as well as adopt the ability to spot shortfalls in the services machines provide us, to stay a step head and to evolve in a way that will ensure the success of their organisations.

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Source: Management vs Machine

Via: Google Alerts for AI