October 22, 2018

A.I. In The Workplace

Artificial intelligence applications have started to enter a workplace near you. An article in the New York Times titled "‘The Beginning of a Wave’: A.I. Tiptoes Into the Workplace" takes a look at some of the uses. In general, the focus to date is on 'automating mundane office tasks in operations like accounting, billing, payments and customer service' and not the higher-order thinking that requires judgment. If you think about any job as a collection of tasks, some actions are more prone to automation through repetition. An example might be extracting data from one form and

One example is State Auto Insurance which is using 30 A.I. software programs to automate some back-office tasks to improve productivity while saving an estimated 25,000 hours of effort. For example:

Premium auditors scrutinize insurance policies and make recommendations for changing rates. They audit less than half of the policies, Ms. Moore said.

The policies that will not be audited then have to be set aside and documented. That step, she explained, is a routine data-entry task that involves fiddling with two computer programs, plugging in codes and navigating drop-down menus. It takes a minute or two. But because auditors handle many thousands of policies, the time adds up, to about an hour a day, she estimated.

Starting in May, a bot took over that chore. “No one misses that work,” Ms. Moore said.

While many companies are exploring or have even implemented similar efforts, adoption of A.I. has a long ways to go. Going forward as the A.I. bots learn from their experience they might extend their work to new areas, even to actions that humans do not do currently.

Now all that's needed is a bot to automate the programming of new bots. Then the pace of A.I. adoption will jump.

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