Wednesday, March 08, 2023

The Illusion of Progress: Striking an AI Balance in the Age of Automation

My prompt: "Anthropomorphic AI chatbot, perfect composition, beautiful detailed intricate insanely detailed octane render trending on artstation, 8 k artistic photography, photorealistic concept art, soft natural volumetric cinematic perfect light, chiaroscuro, award-winning photograph, masterpiece, oil on canvas"

Does there come the point where "everything" becomes AI-driven, and so it loses its value?

It feels like AI has exploded on the scene in the same way the blockchain did a few years ago. At least once a week, I receive an email where a company breathlessly exclaims their excitement for a new AI-driven feature.

It'll automate my business!

My customers will love the life-like responses!

Yes! Yes! Yes!
  • Do you need ideas for your social media posts? Use our AI copy editor!
  • Do you need to schedule meetings? Use our AI assistant!
  • Do you want to provide 24/7 chat support? Use our AI chatbot!
  • Want to set rent rates intelligently? Use our AI leasing agent!
  • Need to create legal documents? Use our AI paralegal!
  • Want to add automations to spreadsheets and databases? Use our AI analyst!
OK. OK. I get it. Computer science turned the corner to make AI models easier to implement.

To be clear, each of these are super cool from a tech standpoint. (Also, I have a company that uses AI to analyze home inspections. So this is a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black... 😬 )

I understand companies wanting to capitalize on the trend. When I bought a small storage facility, I figured out how to onboard new customers 100% remotely. I did it because I didn't want to drive 30 minutes to sign lease agreements, and I certainly didn't want to pay someone to be on-site!

But you better believe that when COVID hit, I touted our "contactless solution" as much as possible.

This feels the same. Of course companies are working on ways to automate tools. That's the name of the game, which The Innovator's Dilemma mentions. But, let's be honest, it's not quite as good as a non-automated version. Like my "contactless solution," these new AI tools aren't as good as having someone in an office (yet?). It's good enough, but not the best possible solution.

Is there where we're headed? Good enough?

Are we headed into a world of blah? Blah social posts. Blah customer service. Even more blah customer service lines.

The real problem is that we're still in the AI uncanny valley. It's the unsettling feeling we experience from a not-quite-human AI result. It's close... but something doesn't feel right. How long do we need to slog through this period until we can't tell? Do we even want that?

The customer in me doesn't. But the business person in me does! Mainly because it means I can automate low-value activities and focus on delivering an exceptional, genuinely personalized (bespoke!) experience on high-value services. Or maybe I'm thinking too hard. If I continue writing articles and social media posts myself, that'll set me apart from all the AI-created content.

Maybe? Let's see how I do against an AI. Here's my chatGPT prompt:

Act as an expert business coach that speaks and writes fluent English. Write a 300-500 word educational article about the problems of turning all services into AI-driven services. Provide 3 examples of how an AI-driven world isn't as good. Use a thought-provoking tone of voice to communicate the message. The goal is to convince people that AI is good, but shouldn't be the ultimate goal. Make sure to avoid generic advice.

As an expert business coach, I have witnessed the growing trend of businesses turning all their services into AI-driven services. While there are undeniable benefits to this technology, such as increased efficiency and cost savings, relying solely on AI can cause significant problems. In this article, I want to explore some of the downsides of an AI-driven world and provide three examples of how it can fall short.

Firstly, one of the most significant problems with an AI-driven world is the potential for dehumanization. While AI can automate many tasks, it cannot replace the human touch. Services that require empathy, compassion, and creativity may suffer in an AI-driven world. For example, a chatbot may provide quick answers to frequently asked questions, but it cannot replace the personal touch of a human customer service representative who can listen to a customer's concerns and offer personalized solutions.

Secondly, AI-driven services are only as good as the data they are trained on. In other words, if the data used to train the AI is biased or incomplete, the AI will make biased or incomplete decisions. This can have far-reaching consequences, such as perpetuating discrimination or making inaccurate medical diagnoses. For example, a healthcare provider that relies solely on AI-driven diagnostic tools may miss vital information that a human doctor could pick up.

Thirdly, an over-reliance on AI can lead to a loss of jobs and skills. As more services become automated, there is a risk that humans will be left with fewer job opportunities. Additionally, there is a risk that skills required to perform tasks that are now automated will be lost over time. This can have significant economic and social consequences, such as increased unemployment and a lack of diversity in the job market.

In conclusion, while AI has many benefits, it should not be the ultimate goal for businesses. An AI-driven world can lead to dehumanization, biased decision-making, and a loss of jobs and skills. Instead, businesses should strive to find a balance between AI and human-led services, where AI is used to augment human decision-making rather than replace it. This approach can ensure that businesses continue to deliver high-quality services that meet the needs of their customers while also protecting the interests of their employees and society as a whole.

We're in trouble.

In my honest opinion, the content is fantastic, but the delivery is predictable and boring. I hope that companies focus on using AI as a starting point and not the final product. I know they won't - its too cost-effective to automate everything - but a customer and hope.

BTW, I also used AI to come up with 10 "very click-enticing" titles. Here are the results:
  1. Is AI Taking Over the World? The Dark Side of AI-Driven Services
  2. The Real Cost of Convenience: Why AI-Driven Services Aren't Always the Answer
  3. Are You Ready for an AI-Only Future? The Risks and Rewards of Automated Services
  4. The Perils of Dehumanization: Why AI Can't Replace the Human Touch
  5. The Biased AI Trap: How AI-Driven Services Can Perpetuate Discrimination
  6. The Job Apocalypse: Will AI-Driven Services Take Over Your Job?
  7. The Human Advantage: Why AI Needs Humans to Succeed
  8. AI vs. Humanity: Striking a Balance in the Age of Automation
  9. The Illusion of Progress: The Hidden Dangers of Over-Reliance on AI
  10. A Wake-Up Call for Businesses: Why AI Shouldn't Be the Ultimate Goal.
These are indeed click-enticing. In fact, these are good enough that I combined a couple to create my title. And you clicked, right?

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