Exploring the impact of AI-powered tools in the workplace: Balancing benefits and pitfalls

 

Published: Tue 11 Jun 2024, 10:05 AM

Hey Ajay, I wanted to share with you about the new AI-powered features being implemented at our workplace.

By Dr Ajayya Kumar / Viewpoint

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Ajay: Oh, yeah? What kind of features are we talking about?


Friend: Well, on Zoom, they've introduced an "AI companion" that helps you catch up if you arrive late to a meeting. And what’s more interesting is that the AI tool, not only records, transcribes, and analyses interactions, but it also measures meeting participants' engagement, sentiment, and airtime.

Ajay: Ah, I see. Yeah, those sound like they could be really helpful in keeping everyone on track.


Friend: Exactly! But I was also thinking, there might be some downsides to all this technology, you know?

Ajay: Absolutely. While these tools offer productivity benefits, there are also potential drawbacks. For example, have you thought about who gets heard in meetings?

Friend: Hmm, not really. What do you mean?

Ajay: Well, AI can provide data on who's speaking the most, which might help ensure everyone gets a chance to contribute. But it could also unintentionally reinforce power dynamics, where the loudest voices dominate the conversation.

Friend: Oh, I hadn't considered that.

Ajay: So, it's not just about speaking time, but also about creating space for everyone to be heard. These AI tools can help with note-taking and summarizing discussions, but they might also discourage people from bringing up certain topics if they fear negative labels like "low sentiment."

Friend: Right, so it's important to maintain open dialogue without feeling censored by the technology.

Ajay: Precisely. Another thing to think about is when we speak and listen. AI can track our engagement and recommend the best times for meetings, but we need to ensure these metrics are reliable and unbiased.

Friend: Ah, that makes sense. We don't want to rely on inaccurate data.

Ajay: And finally, AI can give us feedback on our communication style, but if employees feel like they're under surveillance, it might lead to people just trying to please the AI rather than having authentic conversations.

Friend: Yeah, that's a valid concern. We want genuine interaction, not just people putting on a show.

Ajay: Exactly. So, while these AI features can be really beneficial if used properly, we need to be mindful of their potential impact on our workplace dynamics.

Friend: Thanks for the insight, Ajay. I'll definitely keep that in mind as we start using these new tools.

Dr Ajayya Kumar is a management thinker, art enthusiast, mentor, business advisor, author, and strategist. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy.



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