Why human intelligence is irreplaceable

Martin Birch, CEO and Chairman of ibmlhas 20 years of experience as a global leader in intelligent information management.

We’ve all read the headlines touting the benefits of digitizing your business. But it’s time to put the hype aside and talk about what’s really going on in our organizations.

Businesses are generally in the early stages of becoming truly digital. Digitization includes fully applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, investing in technology and converting all existing information into digital formats. In recent years, the pandemic has led to significant changes that have inspired companies to embark on their digital transformations. This had to be done to support the new remote workforce, and IT departments in particular felt the brunt of this change. Many other IT projects were put on hold so that IT teams could focus all their efforts on transforming entire companies into fully functional remote companies, basically overnight.

Even as many return to personal work, companies across the board are using more AI-enabled digital platforms, tools and technologies than ever before. But while many tout the benefits of AI, companies need to have a deeper discussion about the impact of all this transformation on HI, i.e. on human intelligence.

So which will be most transformative for your business – AI or HI, and which will deliver the most ROI for your organization?

The difference between AI and HI

AI has come a long way since its invention several decades ago. Now computers can mimic many human behaviors and complete tasks efficiently. While these machines offer many benefits to businesses (especially when it comes to things like document processing), there are many uniquely human tasks that machines just can’t handle. Come in, hello.

Human intelligence (HI) combines different cognitive skills and processes to perform tasks that are more analogous in nature. The brain has considerable computing power and the ability to reason, making us practically irreplaceable. While AI-powered machines rely on data and instructions, human intelligence connects things and processes based on emotion, past experience and intuition. This is truly the heart of HI. Learning by trial and error, without programming, is an important part not only of business but also of human existence.

To unlock the benefits of intelligence at the speed of business, you need the combination of artificial intelligence and human intelligence working in harmony. So what do we mean by the combination of AI and HI?

Why companies need to focus on HI to succeed

At ibml we pay a lot of attention to human transformation. Digital tools are designed as a means to help our human team meet our high standards and increase the positive impact of our human efforts. Investing in AI and new tools is important in today’s digital world, but only if those tools are used to help people learn, grow and improve.

People talk about business-to-business (B2B), and they talk about business-to-consumer or B2C, but the core of any business model is “H2H” or people-to-people. At the end of the day, we all buy from other people, not AI or tech tools. Even in an e-commerce space, there’s a human who develops the products, lists them, and tracks their purchases – there’s a salesperson.

It is vital to remember that people are at the center of all your business endeavors and transactions, and as business leaders in this technology-enabled age, it is imperative that we help drive human transformation alongside digital transformation. This could mean helping your workforce learn about the new platforms you’re deploying, helping them adapt to consumer expectations and market changes, and setting expectations around new work styles, such as home-working standards. What human transformation means for your organization largely depends on the way you work and the results you want to achieve.

How AI and HI can help each other

Ultimately, smart people with smart toolsets lead to smarter results. The beauty of AI and machine learning is that they do indeed allow you to automate repetitive processes, remove errors and provide a higher level of accuracy. But without people somewhere in this process, you don’t really have a business to build on. So the partnership between AI and HI is key to drive real transformation. AI tackles tedious tasks and gives people the freedom to perform uniquely human tasks, such as being empathetic with their colleagues, nurturing business relationships, being creative and more.

As you work to transform your business and take it into the digital sphere, remember that AI is only useful if it supports HI. Don’t invest in AI for the sake of investing, but do it with human intelligence in mind. Invest in tools that give your team more time for intrinsically human tasks. Invest in tools that give your human employees the data they need to make more insightful choices to learn and grow in their role.

AI and HI work together to become a collective intelligence tool for your organization. They inform each other and shape each other’s processes and outcomes. Business leaders should not neglect one for the other, but consider how to deepen their investment in both to see success. Amplify HI with AI and watch your ROI soar.

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