If you've been using Microsoft Edge, you probably noticed they released a 2023 wrap-up of important stats for the browser. A key part of this wrap-up involved naming 2023 the year 'we began to harness the power of AI in our daily lives'. With close to 2 billion Copilot chats and Microsoft Edge becoming AI-powered, this title looks well-deserved. 2023 was also the year Chat GPT entered the global consciousness, where political summits were held to discuss its impact. It seems fair to say AI is here to stay.
Putting aside the serious concerns many people have for AI at the moment, it is continuously promoted as a great contributor to employee experience. In their Copilot introduction on the 'What is Microsoft 365' training, the introductory training Microsoft provides for their 365 platform, the company describes Copilot as 'unlocking productivity'. Indeed, conversations online increasingly talk about AI as something most beneficial to employee experience. Experience may not be the term used, but words like 'joy', 'productivity' and 'happier workplace' is seen across outlets as something AI can foster.
Therefore, Is AI the answer to ensuring we find joy or maintain the sense of purpose in our jobs? Microsoft seems to think so. They argue that AI is being utilised to avoid the admin, 'grunt' tasks of our work and ensure we have as much time as possible for those tasks we find purpose and creativity in. Someone running a bakery can gain assistance in promotional writing with AI tools and focus on the actual baking, the task that brings them purpose and contentment. Someone in data analysis can use AI tool to summarise large email chains into salient points, providing more time to the core task of their role that allows their skills and creativity to come to light when creating reports. Indeed, we've seen stories like these when looking into AI previously.
Therefore, it can said that AI does bring the ability to help us maintain that contentment and purpose found in undertaking the tasks we signed up for in our employment. Being able to dedicate your time effectively to things that matter will no doubt be a good experience for employees, and therefore highlights AI as something employers could look into for supporting their employees.
It is noticeable that AI is not often mentioned as something that could replace employees, only enhance their abilities. However, this doesn't mean the possibility is not there. There are concerns around journalism being affected by AI's ability to allow anyone to generate essays and articles, meaning the competition could increase for professionals in the industry. There are also concerns around voice actors having recordings of their voice, legally owned by another organisation, sold after a contract and used by AI tools. It doesn't take too big a leap of logic to see how organisations could adopt AI to lessen the cost of employing humans in roles they see as feasible for AI. However, with political summits being held on the issue and groups of employees affecting coming together to keep this issue on top of the conversation, a more dystopian future for AI can be avoided through ethical regulation and protections.
In summary, AI does seem like just the tool many people need to conduct the admin tasks as part of their business. From writing promotional material to summarising emails, it is clear to see how AI could lessen the drudgery of admin tasks and free more time for those tasks that mean something more. Looking at it from this angle, it is clear to see how AI could lead to happier, more fulfilled working experiences, where the ideal of what we want to be doing is less hindered by busywork. However, as with all innovations to the way we live our lives, we must ensure that it is not pushed too far. AI could be a great benefit to employee experience, but if not appropriately regulated it can become the exact opposite.
Happy New Year to all our readers! We hope 2024 brings you much happiness and more positive experiences in your working year. And no, despite the plethora of tools available within and without the platform used to write, no AI was used in the making of this blog. It brings this author purpose and contentment to write; besides, AI was far more useful in summarising web pages to boost the productivity of my writing.