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Addressing the Undercurrent of Fear Towards AI in the Workforce Despite the slight hiccup brought in by the possible economic slowdown, businesses will continue to focus on maximizing returns from AI use cases

By Prashanth Kaddi

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Considerable excitement has been built around AI across industries in terms of the business transformation and general good that it can do for stakeholders in terms of increasing productivity, efficiency, and accuracy. Despite the slight hiccup brought in by the possible economic slowdown, businesses will continue to focus on maximizing returns from AI use cases.

Fear of AI

Whilst there is positivity around AI from a business perspective, AI-backed automation has caused considerable worry amongst the workforces around job displacement. There is a palpable and persistent fear among the workforce around AI and its ultimate role in job losses. This feeling isresonated across various industry sectors such as energy, resources, and industries; life sciences and healthcare; technology, media and telecom; and consumer industry. The fact that most businesses count on automating jobs as their top AI uses makes it a stubborn problem to solve.

Mitigating the Fear

Businesses need to proactively chart out and communicate an acceptable transition plan for jobs that AI will inevitably transform. As businesses further integrate AI into their organisations, they need to build a collaborative process and AI-driven vision to promote greater acceptance and comfort with AI. Listening to the employees' concerns, bringing solution-oriented conversations, change management, and reskilling employees are some of the ways that can reduce fear of AI in workplace. As a first step, organisations should work on making people comfortable with the future by explaining what AI will mean to them and what it is going to look like in each of the industry sectors – the benefits, impacts and more.

Establishing guidelines around ethical AI usage is another important step that companies should take by developing and documenting the potential of AI for cross-industry disruption. Companies will have to evolve with their plans as AI makes greater inroads, providing a jumping-off point for meaningful discussions with employees.

Offering incentives and training activities to help people integrate AI into their work, retraining AI-skilled professional and nurturing the AI talent are some of the other effective ways that organisations can adopt to educate the workforces on the importance of AI adoption. These changes can significantly empower people to make better decisions, enhance performance and job satisfaction, and inspire people to trust AI-derived insights more than their intuition.

Building a Culture of Working with AI

The hype around AI has created a significant fear but, AI systems are only as good as the information they are fed. Organisations need to understand that working with AI is not an 'either'- 'or' scenario. There is no denying that AI has strong potential to transform the way we work, communicate and make decisions. But that is not to say that AI can do it without humans. Working with AI is about creating a world where human capabilities are enhanced by AI. With the new AI revolution, companies can rethink how they operate and conduct business, from the boardroom to the field with speed and agility.

Prashanth Kaddi

Partner, Consulting DeloitteTouche Tomatsu India LLP

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