Many of us pride ourselves in working for smart organizations that employ lots of bright people. Few of us, however, are exercising our talents for the benefit of intelligent enterprises.

These high-performing businesses combine the acumen and knowledge of their workers with insights and recommendations from a host of intelligent machines, systems and devices. By blending human and artificial intelligence they’re able to react quickly to changing market conditions, seize new opportunities and deliver outstanding customer service.

The power of combining the intelligence of humans and machines was demonstrated in a study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It found that predictions formulated by a combination of humans and machines were more accurate than those made by just humans or just machines. The researchers believe a combination of humans and machines is especially effective when patterns are difficult to discern, where data can’t easily be codified, or when changes occur unexpectedly.

Intelligent enterprises are still rare. But organizations throughout the world are increasingly integrating artificial intelligence within their workforces. Around 70 percent of the corporate executives we surveyed have raised their investment in artificial intelligence significantly in the past two years.

The rise of intelligent enterprises will have huge ramifications for human capital management. Talent sourcing, development and retention will all be affected. New skills and aptitudes are going to be essential. Employees will have to collaborate with machines and other workers, experiment and make quick, decisive decisions. Their ability to exercise judgement, display empathy and draw the best out of colleagues will be critical.

The integration of humans and machines is taking place throughout the workforce – from among entry-level knowledge workers to C-suite executives. Almost half the executives canvassed by the World Economic Forum expect machines embedded with artificial intelligence to have a place on companies’ boards of directors within 10 years. These machines will be able to provide board members with business assessments and future scenarios and also evaluate proposals, plans and budgets. They could even vote on resolutions put before the board.

Human capital executives need to start readying themselves for the new demands of the intelligent enterprise. If they wait too long their organizations will be left behind by more progressive rivals. Furthermore, they’ll struggle to secure the scarce talent that will thrive working alongside smart machines.

In my next blog post I’ll discuss how the emergence of intelligent enterprises is going to affect human capital management. Until then, have a look at these links. They contain plenty of useful insights.

The promise of artificial intelligence: Redefining management in the workforce of the future.

A machine in the C-suite.

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