Blog: AI in the Modern Workplace
Artificial Intelligence can be intimidating

AI in the modern workplace, part 1

Author: Hasmik Najaryan
Vendor Relationship Manager, FSi Strategies

AI in the modern workplace, part 1

We consistently strive for more, for better. We invent, we improve, and we change. But change forces us to get out of our comfort zone and risk facing what’s unknown and uncertain. We have a natural aversion to it. We resist it, but eventually, we embrace it. In part, it is the driving force of our very evolution.

The journey of innovation is one that weaves together our fear of the unknown, curiosity, and determined drive for a better future. What was considered science fiction about a hundred years ago is a standard we cannot imagine our lives without today. Every step forward in human history, every groundbreaking invention, has been shadowed by resistance, anxiety about the future, and a catalog of concerns about how to navigate the new terrain.

One of the most significant recent technological advancements is the remarkable progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Although the concept of AI has been in discussion and research since the 1950s, only recently have we witnessed it develop at an unprecedented speed and become widely accessible. This development is exciting, and yet, the extent of its capabilities can also be terrifying. According to a recent study from Microsoft, 49% of workers are worried that AI could jeopardize their jobs.

On the other hand, the tremendous potential for positive usage it entails is undeniable. All the possible ways it can boost productivity by automating repetitive tasks, data analysis, predictive maintenance, customer support and chatbots, natural language processing, content generation, etc. Models such as ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot provide a tool of immense power that we can harness to accomplish tasks requiring human-like capabilities and elevate automation to an unprecedented level.

A machine can display human-like capabilities such as perception, reasoning and generation at unprecedented speed, scale, and sophistication. It can gain knowledge and interconnect pieces of data at a much faster speed than any human can. The uneasy and chilling sensation we have stems from our inability to comprehensively explain and understand fully how it works. We can explain at a core level how it processes the data using the fundamental systems and algorithms, however, as things get more complicated, we remain in the dark how it evolves by interacting with data and achieves the results it does using the complex entanglement of multi-layered neural networks. In other words, we do not have full transparency into the inner workings of this technology and do not understand how it achieves near human levels of intelligence.

We should also remember that at its core it is just software that runs on a computer, and, consequently, it can be hacked just like any other software and in the wrong hands. On the other hand, it can also be used to fortify the security defenses powered with AI capabilities which will boost the security posture tremendously. Products like Microsoft Security Copilot are already leveraging the power of AI to enhance your preparedness, defense, and response. This is a new terrain unknown to us with enormous potential for good and it is imperative and critical that it is approached with utmost care and caution. Just as fire can provide warmth and comfort, it can also lead to destruction and devastation if mishandled. As a society, we managed to build models and measures on how to manage and use fire safely, we should collectively work together to build models to safely untap into the power AI has potential for.

To this end, there are areas of consensus among various experts, researchers, developers (including those that develop AI) and regulators over the core principles that should be seriously considered as AI is further developed, deployed, and utilized. They stress the importance of safety, security, privacy, fairness, reliability, transparency, accountability, and human control. It would not be overstretching to say that those are concepts familiar to us all. Similar concepts were frequently applied to regulations involving prior technological advancements. These aim to ensure that the technology operates without causing harm to individuals and the environment by safeguarding against unauthorized access, ensuring data and systems remain protected. Furthermore, they ensure that the technology performs consistently and as intended through clearly defining usage parameters and provide insights into its operations while holding responsible parties accountable for its impact. Finally, and more importantly, maintain human control over the important decisions through established review processes preserving human agency. While these concepts may appear broad, they can offer a solid foundation at all levels, from small businesses to state-level regulations, to promote responsible utilization of AI powered technologies.

AI is becoming an increasingly large part of our daily lives and the Modern Workplace, and with it comes a wave of anxiety as we venture into the new frontier. But when it comes to leveraging AI, it can be done responsibly. Contact us today to learn how we can help you utilize AI innovations to enhance productivity and security and don’t forget to check out our blog again next week for a breakdown of Microsoft Copilot and how it can be used.