Alexa, help me work more efficiently…


Alexa, what’s my schedule like for today? Alexa set a reminder for my 1800 meeting. Alexa, get me a promotion….?

Get used to saying Alexa a lot more in the future as Amazon recently launched their Alexa for business AI assistant. With the likes of Google and Microsoft hot on their heels, it’s safe to say that AI voice assistants may well be coming to an office near you.

AI is already revolutionizing the way we live and it’s even begun to creep into our workplace, even though this worries so many people – there is a silver lining. It is an effective management tool, with time a precious commodity, we can utilize systems like Alexa to do the jobs that waste small chunks of time, leaving us to contemplate bigger and better things. Think about all the times you waste looking for emails or trying to find a certain file,  Alexa can do that an instant, leaving you time to get on with the actual task at hand.

AI has a huge learning potential and it can use this to learn our habits and create a schedule around them; it can even profile us to help understand our strengths, weakness and create a statistical card, allowing us to manage people with ease. Now a manager can pick the right tasks for the people and the right mix of people in a team for a project, all using data which has been pooled and categorized by AI assistants.

These voice assistants can even help with clients and suppliers, meaning you can have an AI like Alexa to help research clients well in advance of meetings, allowing you to track their activities and see their likes and dislikes (are they people who just want the numbers, or prefer some creativity in a pitch), all of which can help allow workers to become more successful.

With all the upside, what are the downsides of integrating an AI assistant into your offices? For one, voice assistants work best when you say straight orders, barely recognizing the word please and thank you, which could lead to some bruised feelings when you interact with your co-workers in the same way.

The second problem with AI assistants is that no machine currently understands nuance, so words like urgent could be misinterpreted and in the process, you end up with the wrong tasks at the wrong time.

Privacy is a huge concern when utilizing AI within your company and using AI will need clear rules on how far you rummage into someone’s details. In this regard, AI can be dangerous and if used wrongly, it could be devastating both to personnel and to the company that employs it, however, if this process is regulated and clear boundaries defined, you can go some way to diminishing this problem.

Tools like Alexa and Google home are there for us to use, AI is a tool and it shouldn’t be feared, but used to help us humans spend more time on the big problems, allowing us to engage in problems that require our fullest attention. AI helps give us back our time and allows to us ponder because no matter what AI can do, it can’t replace human intuition in creating the next big idea.

For more on how Alexa can be used in the workplace click here.

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