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Will Artificial Intelligence Replace All Employees?

Lindsey Novak on

Q: Articles on artificial intelligence make me wonder if all positions can be replaced. I believe medical science has gone too far in saving those who no longer have any quality of life, so now I worry that artificial intelligence may go too far. Will employees in the field of artificial intelligence be the only ones whose jobs are safe?

A: Artificial intelligence (AI) poses questions for all who have to work, but it could serve as a motivator for putting your best effort into your performance. AI is most definitely impressive, but you can't choose a field that doesn't suit your abilities and personality. You won't succeed by allowing fear to be your motivator.

Although AI seems to be guiding the future, many of its advances offer companies practical advantages -- the ability to improve systems and procedures more rapidly while decreasing losses. Hopefully our advanced technological abilities will not overpower our lack of emotional intelligence as you describe in the field of medicine, for it is emotional intelligence and creativity that will give individuals an advantage in the workplace. The population is enamored by the thought of self-driving cars, but the safety side is what's critical. According to a recent National Safety Council report, at least 40,000 fatalities occur in the U.S. every year as a result of car accidents. If AI eliminates even half of these traffic deaths, it is worth the takeover of driving.

AI is also helping businesses nationwide to detect questionable business expenses, which raises the cost of doing business and filters down to higher prices for customers. Anant Kale, co-founder and CEO of AppZen, has used AI to replace jobs in which employees tracked and investigated potentially fraudulent and improper business expenses. Employees cheating on business expenses is so prevalent an issue that AppZen's AI technology is used by 1,200 major companies to date -- Amazon, Citibank, Salesforce, CBS and Airbus, to name a few.

AI reviews expense reports at a much faster rate than any human can, checking into every aspect of the expenses, including amounts, types of expenses, locations, reasons for the expenses, even the parties involved in the expenses. Kale said 90% of expense reports are valid but 10% of companies using AI are not. The job of reviewing expense reports was so tedious when handled by humans that the accountants and others assigned to the job would only spot-check because it was so time-consuming, which meant most improper and fraudulent claims went undetected.

The most common and improper types of charges were for entertainment at strip joints, extraordinary dining, and inappropriate entertaining of and gifting to politicians, judges and others in influential positions. Companies cannot risk employees jeopardizing its reputation with illegitimate expenses.

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AI can be trained specifically for each company. It can check for appropriate dining times, acceptable restaurants and meal amounts, and the number of people dining. Employees have been known to violate company policies by charging the company for upgrading flights above what they are allowed, along with upgrading hotel rooms. If that isn't enough, AI has discovered a common petty theft of employees charging the company for adding funds to personal Starbucks cards and gift cards. Petty theft is not so petty when 10% of a company's employees engage in it. AI also reviews social media to confirm the employee isn't entertaining an inappropriate guest, finds duplicate submissions of the same expenses and can determine high-risk issues.

Amazingly, AI completes an expense report analysis in five minutes. If the expenses are questionable, the information is turned over to managers and reimbursement for those expenses is halted immediately.

No human can compete with AI's speed and accuracy, and according to Kale, no accountant really wants that type of work to begin with. The advantage of using this AI is that proper expense reports are reimbursed within two days of submission. Perhaps AI could eventually replace most workers in their jobs, but that's why employees must strive to do more than just their job description and be high performers and creative achievers -- to show their bosses why they cannot be replaced.

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Email your workplace issues and experiences to lindseynovak@yahoo.com. For more information about career and life coach Lindsey Novak, visit www.lindseyparkernovak.com, and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak.


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