Muscat: As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes an increasingly pertinent topic of discussion in the public and private sector in the GCC region; organisations that are best positioned to succeed in an AI-enabled world are those that combine human strengths with machine intelligence, according to Booz Allen Hamilton.
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region are investing in AI to transform their economies over the next few years. In Oman particularly, there is clear interest from the government to pursue an economic agenda that includes artificial intelligence. Recently, the Information Technology authority (ITA) held the 4.0 Digital Trends Forum where they stressed the importance artificial intelligence as a backbone of the 4th industrial revolution.
As governments look to fulfill their AI vision, they must invest in a combination of human strengths, such as creativity, empathy, negotiation, along with those of machines, including collection and processing of data and precision, to improve the lives of citizens.
Fady Kassatly, senior vice-president, Booz Allen Hamilton, Mena, said: “AI has tremendous power to shape the future of regional economies and enhance the quality of life for citizens. Regional leaders are leaving no stone unturned in the quest to combine machine intelligence with human ingenuity to achieve maximum potential and help business and governments gain competitive advantage.”
Key strategies from Booz Allen Hamilton for organisations to leverage the potential of AI.
Leverage AI to complement the human experience
The human mind absorbs and understands more detail than we consciously know. But biases, politics, and wishful thinking sometimes distorts our views. Coupling our instincts with insights produced by machines enables us to see surprising possibilities we may have otherwise ignored. This includes everything, from enabling us to take a closer look at a job candidate whose university or school we had discounted to identifying a revenue driver we were not familiar with. As Oman harnesses AI to drive growth in many different sectors, combining machine intelligence with human intelligence will help build a more stable framework for the future. For example, the banking sector is relying increasingly on automation-led technologies to improve its business processes. Oman Arab Bank launched an automation system that will efficiently perform daily banking transactions. This system will use artificial intelligence and learning tools to help identify issues that were previously resolved by an officer, and intelligently resolve it. This way the officers will have more time to better serve customers’ other needs.
Recognise that machine models can powerfully augment mental models
Machine models are outperforming mental models in a growing array of cognitive tasks. This was evident in the defeat of KeJie, the world champion in the extremely complex strategy game Go, at the hands of a machine learning program created by Google. Machines’ increasing precision and capability means we can now confidently use machine models to ingest and interpret data for a variety of business purposes, while taking a “trust but verify” approach.
To break through without experience, start by experimenting with AI
Many organizations are put off by AI technologies because they think the costs, talent, data requirements and risk of failure are too high. The reality is that in this rapidly-evolving space, even the biggest organisations are learning the ropes and making mistakes along the way. One can be cautious, but not experimenting at all could be even more detrimental. Identify one or a few narrow areas in your business where you can tolerate some risk and experiment before making a larger investment in AI.
To be successful with AI, you need to work and share openly with the ecosystem
The development of artificial intelligence is a global phenomenon, bringing together academics, business leaders, and policymakers from around the world. The value of artificial intelligence goes beyond short-term returns and cost savings. This technology has the power to fundamentally change how our most important institutions make decisions. It also opens the possibility for us to address some of the world’s most pressing problems—from income inequality to disease and environmental crises. The biggest technology companies are working together and sharing openly to advance artificial intelligence through initiatives like Open AI and The Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society. Transparency, sharing, and openness will enable organizations to learn and benefit from artificial intelligence more quickly, and to take on an important role in the next technological revolution.
AI will create a new kind of workforce, so be prepared to support your employees
There is no question that as artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent in business and society, some jobs as we know them today will eventually go away. But this should not cause a sense of doom and gloom. In fact, studies show that it often takes 7 to 10 years after a technology is created for it to be fully integrated in organisations—particularly technology as complex as artificial intelligence. Still, leaders must acknowledge this reality with their workforce, and begin to create strategies now on how to help affected employees develop the skills to transition to new roles. Ultimately, being honest and transparent about the future will help to build trust and buy-in with your employees, customers, and shareholders.