Colin Blackwell, from Hyperion Fintech, explains how AIs are now more than just tools. They’re colleagues.

Before the introduction of AIs, human resources were the primary form of intelligence within a business. However, with the implementation of AI workers, human resources are no longer adequate to address the complexity of a business context that contains artificial intelligence. To address this, a contemporary concept of “Intelligence Resources” is required, which can be organized by a new field of “Intelligence Management.”

The introduction of AIs represents a step change that is larger than the advent of the internet age. However, our response to it can still be guided by some long-term trends we already know the answers to. For instance, while judging corporate business competitions, I’ve seen examples of companies giving equal weight to HR and IT specialists in managing digital transformation, which is a step in the right direction. The new field of Intelligence Management has to optimize a company’s use of both human and artificial intelligence, recognizing that the two types of intelligence are different, interchangeable, and complimentary, all at once. The challenge will be in deciding which tasks are best suited for humans versus artificial intelligence to maximize the company’s competitive advantage.

Generally, tasks that are assigned to an AI will have a speed, cost, data depth, and consistency advantage, while tasks assigned to humans have a creativity, context, and broad empathy advantage.

To put it simply, humans start tasks and AIs finish them.

This is a continuation of the existing trend where process transactional tasks have already often been automated. Within our gig economy where humans provide machine learning tasks to develop AI datasets, their work is already defined as ‘human intelligence tasks”, often abbreviated to “HITs”, so there are already many pointers as to what work is best suited to which intelligence. Giving the wrong tasks to the wrong intelligence will be of increasing danger to the survival of companies. In the past, when people were designing human-only organizations, one had to be careful to hire the right person for the job, so that they were capable of fulfilling the roles to which they were assigned. For example, a manager would have to be at least two job grades higher than their subordinate, so that they were experienced enough to manage them. In the case of AIs, the “corporate hierarchy” is often misaligned, with the AI producing such complex results that their human manager is not senior enough to cope with them.

I’ve heard people comment that “ChatGPT is the best employee I’ve ever had.” Yet, this sentiment misses the larger implication. The AI is not an employee, even though, in practical terms, it can do many similar things. A human employee is easy to define, as it is a flesh and blood person standing in front of you. However, the AI equivalent is an “instance,” which is set up with a specific job description. For example, an AI instance could be set up by saying, “Your name is Sally and you are a customer service robot, purposed to answer our customers’ technical questions professionally, with the aim of maximizing our customer satisfaction and retention.” Sally is now a team member next to human employees, who are collectively managed in an Intelligence Resources system.

If a company is paying an employee to do a customer service task slowly, expensively, and often incorrectly, then a competitor with the Sally instance will have a faster, cheaper, better result. Given that many companies could either fail or become very successful within a short time because of this, where does one start with Intelligence Management? It begins top-down – CEOs have to quickly get their heads around our new reality and make it their overriding priority. The good news is that there are existing company resources well-equipped to tackle the challenge. HR, finance, and IT departments will have to work together in a way they’ve never done before. Each task a company needs to perform must be analyzed for the best human or AI fit. Within every current human job description, individual tasks will either be replaced or enhanced by AI. These task lists will need to be reviewed by an HR professional who understands the human aspects, sitting alongside an IT professional who understands the AI aspects.

HR professionals often call themselves “people people” and are stereotypically not fond of numbers or technology work. On the other hand, finance and IT professionals are typically detail-oriented and prefer working with data rather than dealing with people. This has resulted in a long-standing lack of coordination between these functions, causing missed opportunities.

The interdependencies and re-design across thousands of people would be a monumental task for HR and IT people working together. Paradoxically, there is nothing more capable of handling this complexity than AI itself. Thousands of job descriptions could be loaded into an AI dataset, which would then be prompted to identify an ideal balance of what AI can do and how the human roles can be best organized.

While AI is powerful, it’s not perfect and requires management. Like humans, AI instances need instructing, training and result reviewing, which will require high-level human management. This means that some less senior human roles will be replaced, and entirely new versions of human skill sets will be required. CEOs now need to bridge this gap as a matter of urgency to create new Intelligence Management functions in their companies and to stay ahead of the revolution.

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Tim Burrill
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