Artificial Intelligence: Will it help or hurt the Assistant Profession? Let’s first look at what artificial intelligence is. It is software that has learned behaviour from experienced. There was an example I read somewhere, that a pizza parlour, had an artificial intelligence order taker. And many, many people asked for pepperoni. So the artificial intelligence order taker began asking people right away if they wanted pepperoni, which saved a lot of time.
AI, at the moment, is really restricted at this point to repetitive tasks that can be learned, and then managed by the software.
We all have tried to get through to a real person either with an airline or your utility company, for example. Finally, when you say real person, real person, you get a real person, why do you need a real person? Well, at this stage in the game, the AI isn’t able to be intuitive with your needs. It can’t be sensitive enough to understand anything other than black and white.
Why is that important to the Executive Support profession?
Some of the biggest traits, as you know better than I are intuition, being able to really create relationships and understand what’s needed from listening, and many other human traits that at least at this point, machines are not capable of replicating.
Now let’s say that AI doesn’t develop any further than it is today? How could it be helpful to the profession long term? What’s happening in Silicon Valley? And I say that because what happens in Silicon Valley is very quickly followed by other areas and industries. Due to the full utilisation of technology, at a compelling level, Executive Assistants are now sitting at the table with their Executives. Why? Because they’ve learned how to manage their time, through artificial intelligence and software, and get rid of many of the redundancies of a task-oriented job. So they have figured out how to use artificial intelligence to make travel arrangements or to coordinate meetings.
What is a bigger time sucker than meeting coordination between six people in six different continents?
Is there anything more time-consuming? I’m sure there is. But that’s a big one. And you can use artificial intelligence to do that now. So as you look ahead at the use of artificial intelligence, if you embrace it if you learn about it, if you take it on, you will be able to do what Assistants did back in the 1980s. They started realising that they could have the computer do many of the redundant tests that took up much of their day.
The same applies to AI.
If you really embrace AI, you’ll be able to see the qualities that you have that can not be mimicked by machines ( just yet!), such as perceptions, empathy, sensations, ideas, intuition. These things have not yet been replaced by machines, perhaps one day they will, but by then your job will be so much more sophisticated.