Future of Work in Asia Lies with Human-AI Collaboration

We are now living in a truly hyperconnected environment where vast amounts of data are being transferred, gathered, and consumed daily. Think about the last time you used your mobile phone to book a cab via an app. Perhaps while waiting, you checked your emails, scrolled through LinkedIn, and made a restaurant reservation or responded to a couple of WhatsApp messages. In just a few short minutes, you probably generated and consumed large quantities of data.

Similarly, in the workplace, it is not uncommon for teams to utilize a variety of platforms to communicate and collaborate. While these platforms promise to increase efficiency and collaboration, the amount of information and data they make available to employees can be overwhelming. Thankfully, advancements in technology allow businesses to tackle this issue. Enter artificial intelligence (AI).

Augmented Intelligence Is the New AI

Despite fears of AI displacing jobs, it will inevitably be a mainstay in the future of work. I'm optimistic that the number of high-quality jobs that AI creates compared to the jobs that it will displace will be far higher.

In fact, I believe that augmented intelligence will become the new breed of AI and will play an increasingly significant role in the future of work. It aims to complement, not replace, humans, and is all about helping humans become faster and smarter at the tasks they're performing.

Successful Human-AI Collaboration Starts with Data Literacy

For AI-human collaboration to be successful, we must go back to the basics of ensuring that the existing workforce and future generations are equipped with the right skillsets to read, work with, analyze and argue with data. Unfortunately, the reality is that teams are still working in silos. To many, analytics is still perceived as being useful only for reporting, diminishing the true potential it can have over business decision making.

A first of its kind Data Literacy Index published recently uncovered that data-literate enterprises are valued up to USD 500 million more than their counterparts. There is a clear case for business leaders to defend their market share and commit resources to ensure that employees are well-equipped to operate in the new data-driven environment. However, many still lack a clear directive and strategy to leverage all that data at their fingertips effectively.

Three Ways to Make Data Work in Our Favor

1. Democratizing Data

Governments and organizations can foster a data literate culture by providing all employees with access to relevant data for their specific roles, as well as the tools and encouragement to turn it into insights. Democratizing data, which is simply to make data accessible to every employee regardless of their level in the organization, will significantly benefit a company's use of data and by definition, their approach to newer technologies like AI and Machine Learning.

Empowering individuals with data – democratizing data – leads them to take ownership, familiarize themselves with the data, and have the right understanding to ask the right questions to extract the right insights.

2. Asking the Right Questions

Businesses and employees have typically been focused on reporting on historical data instead of uncovering insights. Today, that approach is no longer sufficient when it comes to data analytics. There needs to be a shift from the how and what of reporting to the why. Asking questions that dig beyond a KPI or metric will empower and enable businesses to scratch beyond the surface of data.

On an individual level, people can take simple steps, such as asking more questions and interrogating the facts and information given. Take it upon yourself to understand the company’s corporate vision and strategy; the context of the situation that you are trying to analyze; and familiarize yourself with the data that you will be using.

3. Never Stop Questioning

The new analytics economy and the world of data promises a lot of answers and insight. To utilize these new world insights correctly, on time and be genuinely be data-driven, we need to ensure our organizations are prepared to ask questions. Doing so will help formulate your second set of questions to uncover valuable insights. Akin to peeling back the layers of the onion, this constant quest for data-driven insights will ultimately become a habit that leads to data-driven decisions.

As we look towards AI to harness the real value of data, we must not be quick to dismiss the human experience and intuition. People still play a crucial role in providing a different perspective based on their knowledge of the business and subject matter. By offering all employees access to relevant data, tools, and encouragement to turn it into insights, companies can be sure that employees will be more empowered to leverage data and work with new technologies in the right way to generate valuable insights. True value can only be harnessed when human-centric analysis and exploration work together with AI and machine learning. 

Suganthi Shivkumar, managing director, ASEAN, Qlik authored this article.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends.

Suganthi Shivkumar, managing director, ASEAN, Qlik believes the future of work lies in augmented intelligence where AI and humans work together