In a business setting, people want to get things done as efficiently and effectively as possible. When deciding between different modes of operation, it is important to consider a number of variables, including each option’s short- and long-term cost as well as their pros and cons.
Artificial intelligence is a tool like any other. It can save time and money, lead to a more efficient workplace, and reduce human error. But when misused, AI can cost companies money, reduce creativity and innovation in the workplace, and cause significant business concerns. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence is critical to deciding how to leverage it within your business and utilize it alongside the skills of your existing workforce.
How to Leverage AI
When considering how to leverage AI to bolster your business, it’s best to think of it as a tool, not a workforce replacement. AI can be used in tandem with your team to increase efficiency, catch potential mistakes before products go live, and perform simple or automated tasks on a continual basis.
But even the best AI will not replace a high-level developer. AI lacks the creativity and human understanding to do this and is known to have biases because it works by aggregating common examples and eliminating outliers. It also lacks ethics and morality, as well as human compassion or empathy, all of which are required to make ethical decisions on a large scale. Ultimately, the best way to leverage this tool is to understand the advantages and disadvantages of AI and use it to support and simplify existing systems rather than replace them.
Pros of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has the capacity to revolutionize business efficiency, productivity, and accuracy in the workplace. Here are some of the top advantages of artificial intelligence to consider.
1. Automate Repetitive Tasks
Repetitive process automation is a form of artificial intelligence used to automate repetitive tasks. This type of AI works well with any tasks that follow specific rules and need to be done the same way each time.
Using AI to automate repetitive tasks works well in most office environments. Tasks like entering information into a database, extracting information from documents for data analysis, or moving files can easily be handled by AI in a fraction of the time it would take humans to perform those same tasks. By automating these repetitive tasks, businesses can use their existing workforce to complete more nuanced or creative tasks instead, increasing their overall productivity.
2. Reduce Human Error
Another major advantage of AI is catching — and thereby reducing — human error on certain tasks. Some tasks require intense concentration, and a single mistake can have far-reaching consequences. Programmers and developers, for example, may spend hours writing a certain code, and if they’re missing a single closing bracket, the code won’t do what they intend it to do.
AI can help catch these types of parsing errors much more easily than the human eye and point them out. By catching errors more quickly, professionals can create and manage their tasks more efficiently and accurately.
3. Provide 24/7 Support
Even the most hardworking, dedicated humans will only spend a portion of their days at work. Humans need to eat, sleep, bathe, and socialize. But one of the pros of artificial intelligence is that it doesn’t have these same needs. Other than the occasional software update, AI can run nonstop.
This means that AI is uniquely suited for roles that require — or could benefit from — constant awareness. Consider, for example, an AI-powered chatbot or digital assistant on a website providing customer support at all times of day or night, or how hospitals might use AI to monitor patient vitals around the clock. This level of support simply isn’t possible with humans alone.
4. Analyze Information Efficiently
AI analyzes information much more quickly than the human brain. This makes it perfect for tasks like data review or data analysis, which require aggregating a large amount of data in a short time.
Marketers, for example, could benefit from AI collecting customer data, examining it, and creating reports on shopping trends or buyer preferences. Scientists could also benefit from the high processing speed of artificial intelligence.
5. Perform Entry-Level Tasks
Certain tasks don’t require a lot of processing power or information to perform. For example, if you’re not looking for a lot of originality or creativity, it can be good to leave that task up to AI rather than putting one more task on the shoulders of employees who are already practicing quiet quitting.
Quality business publications shouldn’t be written using AI. But a public school with a limited budget looking to post on social media a little more regularly might be able to leverage AI to draft occasional Facebook posts. And while AI isn’t going to create the level of art you’d see hanging in the Louvre, it can create original images to go with a blog post if your alternative would otherwise be a free stock photo.
6. Make Logical Decisions
Human decisions are often clouded by emotions or other biases. An advantage of AI is its ability to run statistics and make logical decisions quickly. For example, if a CEO is weighing the viability of two options, AI could provide the odds of each decision succeeding.
Consider, for example, a car manufacturer trying to decide the best shape for a new car model. AI algorithms can run potentials against information on previous models and provide statistics about a potential model's safest shape. This type of decision-making, which needs to be grounded in facts rather than emotions or hypotheses, lends itself well to artificial intelligence.
7. Perform Dangerous Tasks
Certain tasks are too dangerous for humans to perform, especially at first. In these instances, artificial intelligence can help professionals do their work without risking human lives.
Consider, for example, visiting a new planet and analyzing the atmosphere. This is a task much better suited to AI than to human astronauts. AI could also be used for deep-sea exploration, mining, or excavating. These types of jobs, which have traditionally been extremely dangerous for humans, become much safer when humans are instead asked to program AI rather than traverse the depths themselves.
Cons of Artificial Intelligence
When misused, artificial intelligence can lead to poor work quality and lack of originality. There are also major ethical consequences to consider when deciding how best to utilize AI technologies within your business. Here are some of the disadvantages of artificial intelligence to keep in mind.
1. Low Creativity
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that AI has no creativity; we have evidence of a computer beating its competitor in the game Go by creating a new move, after all. But even with low levels of creativity within reach, the truth is that AI does not have the same creative capacity as humans.
For example, an annual competition will reward anyone who can get a chatbot to have a natural-sounding conversation with a human for at least 20 minutes. So far, no one has come close. That natural flow and engagement require a level of creativity that AI has thus far not been able to achieve.
2. Lack of Common Sense
One of the biggest cons of AI is that it lacks human emotion and understanding of context. As a result, it doesn't have what most of us would refer to as “common sense.”
For example, if you asked an AI to generate a playlist of music based on the song “The Wheels on the Bus,” the AI might give you a playlist of children’s music, or it might generate a playlist of songs about cars, some of which might not be appropriate for children’s ears. A human trying to process that same information would understand contextually that the request should generate child-friendly music.
Similarly, when creating pictures of humans, AI commonly gives misshapen hands and feet with extra fingers or toes. However, humans know what other humans are supposed to look like and wouldn’t make these same errors.
3. Expensive to Create
The costs of developing AI systems can be astronomical for companies hoping for custom AI solutions. Analysts estimate that training a large language module, for example, would be upwards of $4 million.
Using pre-existing AI solutions may be more attainable for businesses, but it would be misleading to indicate that pricing wasn’t one of the major cons of AI.
4. Doesn’t Understand the Human Experience
Artificial intelligence is just that — artificial. While it can make logic-based decisions, it lacks the capacity to understand and process complex human emotions. This doesn’t just come out in a lack of creativity; it also comes out with an inability to make humane decisions based on things like ethics or compassion.
AI can still be useful, but businesses should carefully consider the types of decisions they entrust to AI. In general, the use of AI should be limited to black-and-white tasks with clear rules rather than ambiguous tasks with ethical or moral implications.
5. Known Biases
Ethical considerations are one of the major reasons people shy away from AI, and one of those major ethical considerations has come to fruition as researchers uncover that AI is already majorly biased.
AI systems are built by inputting a large amount of data. For machine learning to work, they hold on to frequent data and dismiss outliers. This can be exacerbated if the people inputting the data have some sort of bias, whether conscious or unconscious. These biases can have far-reaching consequences that businesses never intended.
6. Lack of Mental Agility
While AI is faster than humans at some things, it’s not faster at everything. AI has proven itself to be inflexible in its thinking. For example, a simple computer game that would take a human about 15 minutes to learn would take AI over 900 hours to learn. And if a single rule in the game were changed, the AI wouldn’t just have to learn that one rule; it would have to relearn the entire game from scratch.
This type of flexible thinking is what human brains are wired for. It’s what allows humans to adapt quickly to new situations, make changes to their plans on the fly, and account for new information. AI cannot tackle nuanced decision-making or on-the-fly strategizing with constantly changing variables in the same way humans can.
7. May Lead to Higher Unemployment Rates
One of the biggest concerns about using AI is that it could begin taking people’s jobs, significantly impacting the overall job market.
Many experts advise businesses to use AI as a tool rather than a replacement for human workers. But many companies — especially those that already hire many workers for low wages — may ignore this advice in favor of potential cost savings. This could have an enormous impact on the economy as a whole but can also lead to increased errors and biases associated with the products such companies produce.
Hire Skilled Developers to Help You Leverage AI
AI isn’t ready to replace humans in the workplace. You need experienced developers to help you leverage the benefits of AI while sidestepping the disadvantages of artificial intelligence.
Revelo helps by matching businesses with skilled, rigorously vetted, time-zone-aligned developers. By handling onboarding and offering support while the developer is with your company, Revelo makes it easy for businesses to build the right development team for their needs. Get started by hiring top talent through Revelo today.