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There are few technology themes that elicit as much controversy these days as Artificial Intelligence (AI). With products like Amazon’s Alexa bringing machine learning into consumers’ homes and enormous predictions about AI’s potential to make more jobs than ever redundant, it’s a topic that inspires horror and hope in equal parts.

But if you dig a little deeper into the real-world applications of AI and cut away some of the hype, both the fears and the expectations can seem a little overblown. Perhaps AI’s biggest challenge is how little it is understood—it can often seem like an abstract concept, far removed from our everyday realities. But this is changing, and as machine learning becomes increasingly common in our professional and private lives, we focused this month’s Best of Twitter post on how the Twittersphere is talking about the real-world potential for AI.

 Is Cloud computing really driving down enterprise productivity? The productivity paradox lives on in the cloud: http://ow.ly/2BXT30aqU9C

In this compelling piece, technology analyst and co-founder of leading tech site diginomica Jon Reed takes a look at how harmon.ie’s AI-driven Collage interface is playing a part in humanizing the digital experience by cutting distractions created by cloud apps and notifications. It’s a fascinating discussion, where Jon reflects on the various barriers to productivity—both cultural and technological—which stop workers from really being able to focus.

 AI is not the future of the workplace, it is the present and happening today! ow.ly/XSeM309ZPou via @jcmeister

Writing in Forbes, Jeanne Meister, an analyst and advisor at the intersection between tech and HR, explores some of the real-world applications of AI in today’s workplace such as IBM’s Watson, which is being used to transform healthcare by helping doctors pinpoint the best treatment options. Jeanne lists some of the most common applications of AI in the world of HR, focusing specifically on bots:

  • Chatbots are being used to provide real-time answers to employee questions
  • They can also be used to help with onboarding by answering frequent HR questions
  • They may also be used for online training too

So far, AI chatbots are only being used for very specific purposes, and these digital assistants certainly aren’t competing with full-time employees. Nevertheless, they offer impressive gains to businesses wanting to save time by having a machine resolve the most frequently asked employee questions, for example.

 What is the state of the Cloud analytics in the enterprise? ow.ly/D4BG309ZPEf from @LouisColumbus

Almost all AI today depends on the enormous processing power of cloud servers. But are cloud analytics being used widely, and if so, what for? This question is answered by the recently released State of Cloud Analytics 2016 report. The research, based on interviews with over 400 respondents, found that cloud adoption is expanding fast and cloud analytics implementations are becoming increasingly mature.

One headline finding was the top three business drivers for cloud analytics: Enhancing business processes (23.5%), improving customer experience (22.2%), and better collaboration (19.1%). Paradoxically, the ease of using cloud service is driving productivity down. When people use many cloud services, they spend a lot of time toggling across apps looking for information. Improving productivity will only work when there is a way to tie together the services, in context, so workers can make sense of the data.

 New tool that aims to bring AI to Outlook via Microsoft Graph ow.ly/xBdc30abc1Y via @JeffreySchwartz

Redmond Magazine is widely regarded as the authority on all technologies and developments related to Microsoft. In this piece for the influential Schwartz Report blog, Collage’s use of the Microsoft Graph API to bring artificial intelligence into Outlook comes under the spotlight. Mr. Schwartz notes that “Collage is among the first enterprise applications to make use of the Microsoft Graph APIs” and “with the AI and machine learning APIs of the Microsoft Graph, Collage also provides more context with its ability to recognize keywords used across different apps”.

 What are the latest innovations in driving productivity in the workplace? ow.ly/PMmS30ahBJ8 via @ishers123 #FutureOfWork

There is a lot of anxiety out there about the possibility that “robots will steal our jobs”. From truck drivers to translators, skilled workers in many industries could be affected by the rise of AI. That said, looking at some of the articles we’ve covered in this Best of Twitter, we can see we’re still a long way off from such a dystopian scenario. And at harmon.ie, we’d rather be on the side of enhancing humans, rather than replacing them with AI. This article by Nick Ismail for Information Age sets out the case for technology making our lives safer, more secure and less risk-prone. Give it a read for the great examples Ismail has highlighted, including:

  • Smart fleet-management software that will keep tired transport drivers safe and avoid collisions
  • See how fitness trackers have helped monitor employee health and reduce stress
  • Or read about cutting edge support systems that reduce lifting-related injuries

AI is better when it puts humans at the center

At harmon.ie, we’re extremely excited about the potential that machine learning has to improve the experiences of business users of technology. Implemented correctly, it will help employees become more productive, help them focus on what matters and support them to do what they do best. When technology is designed to support humans, and fit around the way they think and behave, both the tech and its users will flourish. And that’s exciting.

Want to learn more about how harmon.ie is implementing machine learning technology that fits around the human? Read more about Collage today. 

 

David Lavenda
Chief Product Officer