By Stéphane Amarsy,
Chairman of the board of Splio + D-AIM

Why is collaborating with algorithms so easy on a personal level and yet so difficult on a professional level? The emergence of algorithms and their entry into the workplace is regularly depicted as a life-or-death struggle of humans versus machines. In reality, this is far from the truth. But if we want to collaborate in perfect harmony, we need to change the way we work.

With each generation, new technologies converge in terms of capacity, use and diffusion; the result is often a revolution. Thanks to the well-established Internet culture, low network costs and technological advances—with, for example, smartphones and data compression—tech giants such as YouTube, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb and Twitter have revolutionized the mobile experience.


We are now approaching a new and even more revolutionary point of convergence where Big Data, Machine and Deep Learning, and computing power are preparing for the pervasive presence of AI in our lives. In other words, artificial intelligence is the defining technology of the 21st century.


Finding one’s place alongside algorithms

Using algorithms is different from using traditional machines. They are designed to make us do things, often by removing the need to identify and assess several options ourselves. The purposes of the algorithms can be roughly divided into three categories: Simple information (monitoring, alerts and market intelligence), recommendations (price, communications, hiring, promotions and HR management) and automated decision-making (filtering, automatic piloting systems and customer experience in marketing).


The authority of algorithms is such that whoever chooses to ignore their recommendations must not only argue convincingly for it but also take responsibility for the consequences of their own decision. At the same time, obeying algorithms lifts sole responsibility from the shoulders of human operators. Thus liberated, humans can move boldly into this new environment and, with fierce determination, find their place by celebrating their differences. In this way, we will find a purpose in harmony with our skills and social image.


A powerful impact on the whole company

At a corporate level, the impact is deeper than a digital transformation and more complex than an IT project. This transformation is multifaceted—the integration of AI into a business affects a heterogeneous mix of issues. For HR departments, it impacts topics such as induction, fragmentation of roles, collaboration, responsibility and knowledge sharing and transmission. For organizations, it means shifting from a traditional, hierarchical model to a networked system that optimizes cross-functionality and responsiveness. It also leads to reformulating the notion of technology appropriation, along with the challenge of avoiding dependence on systems while successfully integrating them into the business chain. Finally, it has clear repercussions on the corporate culture—the entire organization will be talking about customers, usage and service.


Beyond these concepts and their implementation, when it comes to AI, only the results count. The search for perfection is too long and costly. It is therefore essential to focus on speed. Organizational concepts are already there in an embryonic form with models based on “factories” (e.g., digital and data factories). They reflect the pursuit of automation, which will enable us to move faster by rationalizing and pooling resources, including artificial intelligence.



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Discover another column: Algorithmic transparency: raising false hopes?