The future of work: Why AI needs humans

Find out how humans play a critical role in successful AI systems and the ways AI can complement human work, instead of replace it.

Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Martina Ivanović

Senior Content Marketing Specialist

By now, we’ve all heard the concerns over a “jobless future” due to development in artificial intelligence (AI). But is it true?  

Could all the work humans do within organizations be swept away with automation?  

We think not. 

Even with the technology we see unfolding today, humans will continue to play a critical role in the workplace, alongside our AI counterparts.  

Instead of being replaced, human-centric job roles will shift to AI-focused positions, and human staff will be reskilled to monitor and control AI systems at various parts of the development process. 

After all, AI systems can’t exist without human input, training, and support – especially since, well, we created them!  

We even created a term that explicitly states our co-existence alongside AI systems, otherwise known as “human in the loop.” It highlights the necessary involvement of humans at the beginning, middle, and end of AI system development, encompassing the reliance AI systems have on humans to curate and fine-tune the data they’re fed to provide accurate, relevant outputs. 

But to better understand just how AI and humans can work together for a bigger and brighter future, we must first understand the differences each one brings to the table.

The differences between AI and humans in the workplace

AI systems are computer-based systems built using various technologies, algorithms, and models that enable them to mimic human behavior and complete tasks autonomously or semi-autonomously.

There are different types of AI systems, such as conversational AI and generative AI. These are most used by businesses and consumers, often as an AI chatbot.  

The possibilities of using AI to power customer communication seem endless. Today, you can train an AI chatbot to do just about anything. Want to place an order? Check. How about processing a payment? Check. Not sure what to write on your grandma’s birthday card? AI has you covered

But just because these systems can handle vast amounts of workload and data, doesn’t make them fail-proof.  

Besides sometimes misinterpreting data and “hallucinating”, AI systems lack the consciousness needed to make on-the-spot decisions, come up with solutions, or give customers empathy during times they might need it most. 

And that’s where humans come in.  

Regardless of our sometimes faulty judgment or the occasional hiccup, humans continue to be the voice of reason that fuels AI systems to be better. AI and human capabilities within the workplace complement each other, and businesses that encourage this cross-collaboration can fill gaps and meet customer demands faster. 

In other words, what AI lacks, humans possess – and vice versa. 

It really all comes down to IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient): 

  • AI systems excel in tasks that require high IQ capabilities, such as data analysis, pattern recognition, and complex problem solving. 
  • Humans possess a balanced combination of IQ and EQ, which makes them better at complex problem-solving, interpersonal interactions, and emotional understanding. 

AI simplifies existing processes and tasks by using data its fed by human staff to recognize patterns, collect new data, and automate low-energy tasks. But it cannot process incomplete or nuanced data, make ethical decisions, or apply abstract thinking to solve problems.  

These systems also lack the empathy, creativity, and critical thinking of humans. And this humanized side is what often leads to innovation, goal setting, and adaptability to changing environments. When you think about it, human input and innovation is what’s brought us to the generative AI systems we know today.

AI and humans working together

The fact of the matter is that AI systems cannot be successful without the right human input, training, and support. 

We recently spoke with our VP of Products where we highlighted to which capacity AI will affect human work in the future. 

Although artificial intelligence has eased processes and workload, we shouldn’t be threatened by its presence in the workforce. Occupations will not necessarily disappear; they will instead change.

Krešo Žmak

VP of Products at Infobip

Without humans at each stage of AI development, these systems wouldn’t have the right data to complete tasks, answer queries, or provide any valuable output. And when environments or circumstances change, humans need to fine-tune AI systems to meet new guidelines, perform new processes, and analyze new data.

Otherwise, businesses are left with outdated outputs that can lead to customer confusion, dissatisfaction, and ultimately brand abandonment. 

DPD, a leader in parcel delivery, recently experienced this with the malfunction of its own AI chatbot when a software update led the chatbot to swear at a customer and criticize the company. Human staff had to disable and update it immediately before further damage was done.

Source: BBC

But when humans are closely involved in the development and maintenance of AI systems, businesses can see astonishing results.  

Podravka Group, a multinational company based in Croatia, engaged the right team and partners to build a custom chatbot on our platform, powered by generative AI and machine learning. The chatbot achieved 100% accuracy in responses with no hallucinations, resulting in an 18% conversion rate and 40% increase in active users

There are two key areas of AI implementation where humans play a critical role: 

Data creation 

AI systems operate based on datasets they are fed. And if data is not clear, there is a higher risk of failed outputs. Humans can improve these datasets to increase resolution accuracy, improve targeted messaging, and minimize hallucinations. 

If you provide GenAI with low quality data, it will generate even more low quality data.

Krešo Žmak

VP of Products at Infobip

Some key ways humans can assist with data creation include: 

  • Labeling and annotation: Tagging objects in images, labeling parts of speech or named entities, or transcribing speech or identifying speakers and sounds in audio recordings 
  • Data generation: Writing scripts or dialogue for chatbots 
  • Curating and cleaning: Removing duplicate or irrelevant information 
  • Scenario testing: Creating and testing simulations or stress-tests to identify potential issues. 
  • Ethical oversight: Ensuring data privacy and security measures are in place and creating guidelines and standards for ethical AI development. 

Quality control 

But data creation is only one part of the equation. What happens after an AI system starts using an organization’s curated data to communicate with customers? Barriers such as ethical boundaries, privacy laws, and hallucinations might occur. And humans are the only ones who can fine-tune the details to improve communication and customer experiences. 

In other words, teams that used to supervise human staff will now start supervising AI systems. 

Agents or supervisors will be shifting their skillsets to a GenAI prompt engineer.

Krešo Žmak

VP of Products at Infobip

So, what might this new scope of AI refinement and quality control within an organization look like? Here are a few examples: 

  • Collecting user feedback through surveys and interviews to identify common issues and update AI models and systems 
  • Comparing model predictions with actual outcomes to evaluate performance 
  • Correcting errors or inconsistencies beforehand or in real time 
  • Reviewing data and outputs to detect and correct biases against certain groups 
  • Ensuring that AI systems continuously operate within ethical boundaries and that data collection complies with privacy laws 

5 ways AI complements human work 

It’s not only humans that can contribute to the work AI is set up to do. The opposite is true, too. Here are five ways AI can support the work human staff does, without replacing it:  

The future of work between AI and humans 

AI is here to stay. And the more we understand how we can work with these systems rather than against them, the higher chance we have of building connected customer experiences in the years to come. 

Although AI-powered solutions can take care of many aspects of business on their own, humans are still required to take care of these solutions on the backend. Marketers still need to create marketing campaigns, agents need to handle complex queries, developers need to build the chatbot, and so on – but combined AI solutions will make these processes easier. 

By cross-collaborating, humans and AI can fill gaps throughout the customer journey, increasing operational efficiency and ultimately leading to higher ROI and customer satisfaction. 

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May 27th, 2024
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Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Martina Ivanović

Senior Content Marketing Specialist