No, this is not the title of the next sci-fi blockbuster movie but simply the “battle” everyone seems to be obsessed with and talking about. And rightly so. Technology seems to have invaded our personal and professional lives and many posts on LinkedIn and newspapers are talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI) as one of the primary areas of tech-driven social development in the coming years.
It’s all very exciting and worrying, as AI is said to threaten low to mid-level jobs and administration tasks.
Take for instance this document analysis software from Luminance. This is no doubt a great asset to any legal team involved in a due diligence exercise, for example, and one could argue that teams of junior lawyers, contract managers and paralegals can be better deployed on to other tasks. But is that really the case or is this new technology going to result in large-scale job losses?
Well, according to an article published by the Financial Times last year, legal firms are investing heavily in AI and thousands of jobs have already been lost.
The legal sector is not the only one being affected. Take this other piece of software: Prezi. It supports staff employed in sales, marketing and customer service roles and is pitched at freeing up employees’ time, allowing them to focus on higher value activities. Is that how companies will view tools like Prezi? Or will they just look to save costs and downsize their teams, as a lot of their internal tasks become automated?
As AI applications become more and more sophisticated, they will make more and more intelligent decisions on behalf of professional employees and administration staff. Some argue that SME businesses like small law firms will need to embrace machine learning or risk closing.
I don’t have the answer and can only judge from what I see around me. Looking at the tasks that my clients continue to delegate, not all small businesses will immediately be able to invest in artificial intelligence software. With many AI tools, there is a significant up-front investment in time and configuration work, if not also a financial outlay, which makes the technology less attractive than experienced, self-employed contractors who can hit the ground running for their clients. Longer term, we all have to aspire to continuing evolution in skills and practices so that technology enhances our lives and opens up new careers and opportunities.
For now, if you’re not “AI ready” but would like to outsource your data-entry tasks, simply call us or send us an email. We offer very flexible pricing packages that will cost you less than a yearly software subscription fee.