Technology is expanding everyday. With this comes an ease of work that helps us get information faster and projects done in record time. So what can we do to capitalize on this in business?
At AccelaWork, we embrace the ever-growing ways in which technology is sweeping the world. And while there are so many reasons why this is the case, one of the greatest benefits we truly see impacting business is in terms of productivity. For our avid readers, as you may recognize, enhancing productivity is a topic we simply love to discuss. In fact, if you run a search on The Methodology Blog, you will find all sorts of posts dedicated to the topic of productivity. Consider reading a selection of them, we’re sure you’ll find them enlightening.
Today, I’d like to focus in on productivity gained through Digital Assistants. The TalentCulture team highlighted an article written by productivity expert and AccelaWork principal Robby Slaughter. How to Get More Done at Work with Digital Assistants is piece that discusses AI assistants and what they can do to foster productivity at work. Now let me first say, it’s easy to immediately think about Siri and Alexa as those AI instruments that can help us through our day. They’ve become a fantastic tool when it comes to getting information fast. Heck, even our children know that turning to Alexa to ask about the weather or set a morning alarm is the way to go. But, Slaughter dives deeper into the subject of digital assistants and the ways in which we can really begin utilizing the technology to gain productivity. His first suggestion? Upgrade your AI.
Start looking at more impressive tools such as x.ai or Clara Labs, which are AI assistants that can schedule appointments with other people simply by copying them on an email . . . And if you really want to see AI at work, try something like Fin. This is a completely independent assistant that you can ask to do anything. Whatever the AI can’t figure out, humans behind the scenes can guide.
Slaughter cautions readers however. What we must all remember is that while technology can make things easier and faster, it’s still developing. He reminds us to be patient. Not unlike human error, digital assistants have a margin of error as well. If you’ve ever dealt with autocorrect or voice-to-text on your phone, it’s easy to see how technology can misunderstand.
First, be patient. This is an emerging technology that we are all struggling to understand. Just like other tools, it won’t always work. As enhancements are pushed to market, it gives people an opportunity to screw up with more calamity.
Slaughter also suggests that anyone using a digital assistant should be as transparent as possible about it. After all, it’s better to let your clients, customers, colleagues, etc. know that you are utilizing technology to perform certain tasks in case there are blunders that create confusion and frustration. An example could be:
Instead of saying ‘My secretary, Adam, will schedule our appointment,’ type ‘I have an AI robot that I’m trying out for scheduling appointments,’ Your honesty will smooth most any problem you may have.
A big area that could become a problem with digital assistants if not monitored thoroughly is privacy and security. It’s not uncommon for this technology to be interpreted human. I, for one, have seen this firsthand when it comes to solicitations via phone. It’s absolutely astounding how AI technology can model human behavior; particularly when it comes to predicting responses. But, what we need to remember is that our priority, first and foremost, must be to continue upholding privacy and security in business. Slaughter urges this concept:
Keep in mind that anything that attempts to look human is often going to be interpreted as human, and that can lead to misunderstandings . . . And just because it’s an AI-based platform doesn’t mean you can ignore security and privacy — follow the same rules you would when dealing with humans. Don’t give a tool power to do something you wouldn’t normally do, like make a payment to literally anyone who asks.
In the end, the greatest benefit that digital assistants can bring to all of us is the gift of productivity. Slaughter’s final thoughts reflect this entirely:
The changes these advances can bring to the workplace will also change the way we work, so use the time you save wisely. Productivity improvements make some work obsolete. What are you doing now that a computer will be able to do for you? And if it is [doing it for you], what are you doing instead?