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Artificial Intelligence: It’s not stealing your jobs

Artificial Intelligence: It’s not stealing your jobs

But businesses must put both their clients and customers in the driving seat, giving them control and quashing any false claims that AI will replace humans at work, writes Sam Daish of Xero

The truth about AI is more complex, and I believe, much more positive

Sam Daish, Xero

In a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is being talked about at every turn, it’s little wonder people get nervous, envisioning a world run by robots and worrying that AI will take our jobs away. But the truth is more complex, and I believe, much more positive.

AI will continue to make many tasks easier and automate some of them. What we see in the accounting world is that automation is removing some tasks to help focus time and resources on other activities.  

For example, AI can automatically detect if something should be subject to fringe benefit tax. In our world we are seeing more time being dedicated to helping small businesses through advisory rather than compliance.    

The growth of technology is something to be celebrated rather than feared. Fintech is on the rise in New Zealand, with experts suggesting that our small nation could pave the way for the rest of the globe.

Over the past year, fintech has increased our exports and boosted the economy by $220 million, growing by 33 percent, much of which is attributable to the increased use of Artificial Intelligence.

Companies are constantly on the lookout for innovative minds to help build and develop new products, which will make their business lives easier.

When you look at AI from a broader perspective, it becomes apparent that this area of computer science is creating new job opportunities rather than taking them away.

In just two years, we have grown our team of data scientists from zero to over 30: a huge increase and a clear indication of just how rapidly AI has, and continues, to grow.

The development of innovative solutions will free up time for businesses to focus on other aspects of their growth.

In some cases, such as ours, AI can provide a deeper level of insight about customers’ businesses, how a business can advise them and what adjustments can be made to help our clients improve their objectives.

People often don’t realise that AI already has a significant presence in everyday life.

In just two years, we have grown our team of data scientists from zero to over 30

Sam Daish, Xero

Take Google Mail’s email feature for example, which is now writing short responses for them. Again, in this feature, AI is there to make lives easier. It enables people to write more quickly by suggesting words and phrases based on the user’s style and habits.  

Reassurance will be gained both personally and in a business sense once businesses acknowledge and accept the prevalence of AI and the important role it plays within today’s society.   

However, a key element that must be maintained is control. It’s critical for businesses to make a commitment which puts both their clients and customers in the driving seat, giving them control and quashing any false claims that AI will replace humans in a work environment.  

AI enables companies to save time on the routine tasks that may otherwise require unnecessary resource.

At Xero, we’re making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of time that is needed for our customers to do their accounting and run their business. It’s not taking over or making decisions on behalf of the small business, rather it’s automating mundane and repetitive tasks such as bank reconciliation, invoicing and image reconciliation.

With 1.6 million global subscribers under our belt, there’s a real opportunity for us to find a way, through AI, to connect these subscribers and empower and benefit each business with consistent improvements and advancements in technology.

The truth is, AI advancements aren’t going to slow down any time soon, so rather than sticking their heads in the sand, businesses need to learn to adapt to this growth, seize the opportunities and think of unique ways in which AI can benefit their customers and clients.

Read more: 6 reasons to pump the brakes on AI

Sam Daish is general manager of data innovation at Xero

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