When it comes to the trending tech topics of 2023, everything and anything artificial intelligence (AI) was high on the list of major headlines. Different companies released new AI tools that promised to revolutionise entire industries and make us all more productive and efficient.
But just in case you were planning to replace yourself or your team with AI bots in 2024, check out this cautionary tale that was recently highlighted in Fortune magazine. Apparently, many forward-thinking business leaders have been skipping Zoom meetings and sending robot notetakers in their place.
In theory, sending AI bots to endless Zoom meetings sounds like a genius productivity hack. Managers and business leaders are very busy people, and attending meetings isn’t the best use of their time. Besides, the biggest tech giants—including Microsoft and Google—are offering highly efficient AI bots that get the job done. What could possibly go wrong?
David Armitage, Velocity’s CEO, firmly believes the cons outweigh the pros. “Sending an avatar to a meeting instead of going yourself is a bad idea,” he said. “We’re already dealing with the challenges of hybrid and distributed workforces. By sending bots to do the job of people, you’re creating yet another barrier to forging strong relationships with colleagues and clients.
“You’ll end up alienating and isolating people by reducing your interactions with them. Also, sending a bot to a meeting instead of attending yourself sends the wrong message to attendees; you’re basically telling them they’re not important enough for you to be there.”
David isn’t against the use of AI in the workplace, of course. He simply thinks it should be deployed in areas that don’t undermine work relationships or company culture. “You can use AI tools to take down minutes or summarise meetings. AI could also be used to coordinate schedules and send meeting invites. By all means, use artificial intelligence to automate routine tasks and optimise your productivity, but don’t let it automate your relationships.”
James Dwyer, Velocity’s COO, says sending bots to Zoom meetings undermines the creativity and problem-solving that can come out of meetings. “Sending an avatar to attend strategy meetings does not make sense. AI bots can’t make decisions or solve problems on your behalf. If your voice needs to be heard, by all means, make your presence felt.”
James says replacing humans with bots also destroys much of the camaraderie that comes with attending group huddles. “You won’t be in on the inside joke that someone shared during the meeting. These moments are very important for building lasting connections. Also, a bot might not be able to ‘read the room’ in a literal sense since it cannot gauge mood, tone, or indirectness.”
Despite its many advantages, the current limitations of AI make it far from ideal in many business applications that require cognitive abilities and a human touch.
On another note, if you’re curious about getting your business ready to adopt the AI tools set to flood the market, or ensure that your organisation is well-protected on the cybersecurity front, then contact Velocity.