Welcome to the Better Communication Results vidcast, edition 112.
In today’s edition, we find:
- a useful quick overview of Artificial Intelligence you can share around the office,
- a thoughtful discussion on whether change resilience or change renewal is the correct terminology for what employees might have to face with the introduction of AI into the workplace,
- a quick overview of the state of play with video conferencing and AI, and
- a wonderful podcast interview with a machine learning research leader.
On to the show…
Firstly, a useful overview of AI in the workplace
SAP Analytics Cloud has published a useful intro to AI.
Author Ewan Maalerud spells out how artificial intelligence is of value to much of the organisation. Ewan touches on the definition of artificial intelligence, and then of machine learning, and goes into top-level detail about how AI and ML can solve some of the organisation’s headaches.
Drawing on examples, he talks about cybersecurity, energy costs, healthcare, consumer goods and services, finance, government, and procurement.
The call to action is, of course, to sign up for a free trial of SAP’s cloud offerings, but nonetheless it’s a great overview article and definitely worth sharing with your colleagues who might be wondering what this artificial intelligence stuff is all about.
Next: Change – resilience or renewal?
Dr Jen Frahm’s thought-piece on change resistance in organisations is timely, because organisational change will certainly happen with AI.
In the article Jen and Gary Thomson argue for a more reflective way of considering organisational change. Change is something that is usually visited upon employees, and asking them to be resilient about it possibly sets up a barrier in their minds — ‘hold on tight’, ‘toughen up’, ‘brace yourself’.
Instead, Jen and Gary suggest a softer, less brutal approach. The suggestion is to use the word ‘renewal’.
“‘Resilience’ has a distinct flavour of blame the employee for NOT being more resilient… but if I take the lens of renewal I might introduce the concepts differently and add to them”Dr. Jen Frahm
This is a fabulous article to read because it shows the thinking of one of change management’s leading lights. And change management will be at the forefront of AI adoption in the workplace.
Artificial Intelligence and video conferencing
A recent industry survey of video conference users found that AI in communication is the way of the future and the most highly anticipated aspect of the technology’s evolution.
Of the 1,000 people who responded to Zoom’s survey, 73% believed that AI will have a positive impact on physical and virtual meetings.
One of the ideas talked about has already come to fruition: video conferencing vendor BlueJeans introduced an AI video assistant to their service to take care of the minutes during meetings. More than a virtual stenographer, the Eva assistant can record, store, and categorize video meetings. More impressively, Eva has enough awareness to automatically detect and record significant meeting moments and highlight these in its reports.
Other smart video assistants are also available to take care of the finer details of a video meeting:
- Cisco has a bot to help you use voice commands to control a meeting and recognize people in that meeting through their personal devices.
- WebEx comes with an AI assistant that detects background noise and prompts callers to mute their microphones.
- Google’s @meet app can make suggestions for future meetings by listening in to the current one.
Skype has added collections of chatbots and smart apps that can do the rote work of gathering files, listening for and acting on verbal cues, and linking a live meeting to the wider internet.
And finally, Machine Learning and how we will deal with it
Shane Parrish has an excellent podcast, The Knowledge Project, that comprises an hour-long interview with an industry expert on topics as varied as investing, collaboration, thinking and leadership. Back in 2016, he interviewed Pedro Domingos, a leading researcher into Machine Learning from the University of Washington.
What Pedro has to say is riveting listening. He talks about the three sources from which all humans obtained their knowledge for thousands of years, and how a new fourth is changing everything. He waxes lyrical about how AI is finding its way into every sector of our lives, and what that means for future jobs and future opportunities. He spells out why white collar jobs are easier to replace than blue collar jobs and what the workforce may look like in the near future.
Here’s a snippet from the podcast, where Pedro shares his ideas on the difference between the white and the blue-collar worker and which one is easier to replace.
And here’s another snippet, from the end of the podcast, where Pedro outlines his five-year vision of where we will be with AI and ML assistance in our lives.
It’s a great podcast, and we heartily recommend you take the time to listen to