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By Andrew Ford | @AndrewFordUK

Artificial intelligence is the next strong phase of technology innovation around the world. It has generated momentum in startups and established businesses, as the gold-rush across a number of sectors continues. AI will have a huge impact on a number of industries, such as health, education, transport, energy. The list goes on.

It has and will also spawn many new businesses. Apple, Google and Amazon already use AI to provide a much enhanced customer experience. Organisations such as CognitionX and Seldon in London are examples of AI catalysts for the next wave of creative thought and engineering for startup business models.

What to do about the unstoppable march of AI and machine-learning, whether physical moving metal and plastic, or embedded in the internet, such as chatbots, or within work-based ERP systems. There has been much talk of the impact on incumbent businesses and public sector organisations, with the knock-on demise of a number of jobs around the world.

Statistics say that 47% of all employment opportunities will be occupied by machines within the next two decades.” As Robots Rise, How Artificial Intelligence Will Impact Jobs, Forbes, April 2017

Up-skill your professional abilities

One option for workers everywhere would be to book a one-way EasyJet flight to a sunny clime, and hope that savings and some bar work will sustain you through to retirement. This may be rather hit or miss, and a touch seasonal. The economy would also crash.

A second option is to up-skill your professional abilities, and those of your team or organisation, with softer, warmer, and significantly more human behaviours. Robots or bots cannot adopt these behaviours – at least not for a very long time. They are unique to man and woman-kind. They are the emotional and cultural quotient sparks of life that run through our DNA and spirit.

“It’s these human capabilities that will become more and more prized over the next decade.  Skills like persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks.” The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important, Harvard Business Review, February 2017

Get the best from yourself – and others

Before the internet, email, Apps and other digital channels and media, people would answer or call on the telephone, or walk into a retail store, or meet customers at a service desk. Humans used to interact with one another face-to-face or immediately communicate on the telephone, which after millennia of evolution came naturally. We get the best from ourselves and others by engaging and interacting – at least most of the time!

Human interaction has, though, evolved, with the advent of social-media across a number of platforms, with which we interact with every day, through a number of different devices.

We love using social-media for engaging with friends and family to share holiday, wedding, birthday and pretty much any subject of photos and videos  – on Facebook and Instagram. We use LinkedIn for professional and career aspirations, Twitter for tweeting and sharing thoughts, and WhatsApp and Messenger for instant communications and engagement.

Future-proof yourself at work against artificial intelligence

So you use social media for your own individual needs for fun and finding jobs, but what about using it to enhance your productivity and performance at work? And do the things robots cannot do.

For example, all along the commercial spectrum, marketing to business development to sales, and then to the post-sales experience from customer-service to post-sales support and in some sectors to product returns and software updates, social-media must play an integrated and complementary role in engaging with customers. In whichever function you work, demand social-media as a priority aspect of your personal development plan.

In particular, marketing and HR should play a strong role in enabling the organisation to put social as a core component of the CX, which brings together teams and functions, and structuring employee learning and development so that it becomes a natural step for everyone in a business.

Sales leadership and teams have an immense opportunity to demand and prioritise the use of LinkedIn and other social tools to building relationships with prospective and existing customers every day, to drive short-term quota targets and longer-term top and bottom-line numbers growth.

Future-proof yourself and humanise yourself with social-media skills at work. It’s the best way to complement the rise of AI in the workplace.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

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