SXSW Austin 2024: AI’s potential to be force for good for employee experience

1 in 4 employees currently utilise AI tools, and 80% acknowledge their productivity-enhancing capabilities. But apprehension persists.

“As our new artificial colleagues become more commonplace, we need to start reframing the conversation from ‘what can AI do?’ to ‘what can humans do with AI?'” Boston Consulting Group’s managing director and partner Julie Bedard has said.

Bedard was speaking at SXSW Austin alongside Slack senior vice president Christina Janzer and Greenhouse chief product officer Donald Knight about the impact of AI on the employee experience.

“When Slack implemented AI in our platform across various fronts, one of the key features was summarisation,” Janzer explained.

“This AI feature is now one of the most widely used across the board. For example, if you go away on holidays and come back to a channel full of messages, with a press of a single button, the whole channel can be summarised into the top 10 points of what you need to know and prioritise while you are away – genius. Previously, you would spend days just getting back up to speed. Personally, that is the level of productivity we all need in our lives these days.”

While 1 in 4 employees currently utilise AI tools, and 80% acknowledge their productivity-enhancing capabilities, a palpable apprehension about AI’s potential implications persists. The panellists agreed that mindfulness is needed around the tech’s limitations, and the ethical considerations.

“The need for inclusive approaches in AI development to ensure that the resulting technologies effectively serve diverse populations and address a wide range of societal needs” is essential, Knight said.

While AI has disrupted traditional job roles, its rise has only highlighted the need for proactive employee training and development.

“It is crucial to note that the technological advancements have not resulted in the replacement of human workers, but rather in the acceleration of existing tasks,” Knight added.

See also:

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SXSW Austin 2024: Paramount CTO on winning gen AI arms race

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