Office of the future: How to succeed in collaboration with AI assistants
Munich, 25 May 2022
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing everyday work in offices and factories. It is not only in industrial production that intelligent robots support people with heavy tasks. In the near future, AI-based assistance software will also be able to take over monotonous routine tasks and employ people at their desks. At the same time, its use poses challenges for all those involved – for example, in the handling of personal data or the humane design of working conditions. A fictitious application scenario from Plattform Lernende Systeme shows how employees benefit from a so-called information butler and how its introduction in the company succeeds.
AI-based assistance systems can relieve employees in a variety of ways and help with complex tasks. For example, an AI-based information butler can assist a controller with the quarterly financial statements by automatically creating a meeting for data exchange based on previous appointment preferences and calendar entries and providing relevant information in advance. Once the controller has organized the necessary data from the departments, the AI software can create a draft presentation based on it and help the employee focus on her work by temporarily shielding her from irrelevant mail.
The multimedia report Information Butler for the Office (in German) accompanies fictional CEO Lana Kostic step by step as she introduces such an AI system into the company. She illustrates how the information butler relieves the employees – and which questions and concerns the cooperation with the AI assistant raises. In video interviews and audio statements, experts from Plattform Lernende Systeme explain how these questions can be addressed together with employees and what constitutes successful change management in the AI age.
Four phases to successful change management
In the fictitious application scenario, Lana Kostic first considers together with her employees how an AI assistant can provide relief and what the possible consequences of its use are. “Even before AI is used in the company, management and employees, or company representatives, should clarify the central questions together and across departments,” says Oliver Suchy, Head of Department “Digital Working Environments and Working Environment Reporting” at the German Trade Union Confederation DGB and member of Plattform Lernende Systeme. “What is the information butler actually supposed to do? What should it decide – and what should humans decide?” Data use and data protection should also be considered together with employees from the very beginning.
The second phase involves the concrete planning of the deployment of the assistance system. Lana Kostic now has to design a sensible division of labor between humans and the AI system. Employees should not lose qualifications when interacting with the information butler, but rather develop their skills. The next step should be to prepare and implement the use of the information butler, integrating the system into existing processes. Here, it is central that employees are able to operate the AI system responsibly. “It is particularly important that employees receive sustained training in the necessary data skills,” explains Andrea Stich, Head of the Frontend Academy at Infineon Technologies and a member of Plattform Lernende Systeme. “This includes not only the operation of software and hardware, but rather fundamental knowledge in data processing, data security, data literacy, and the basic understanding of how the information butler as a tool handles the data, or rather generates its results.”
The information butler also needs to be continuously reviewed, evaluated and adjusted during its deployment. A survey of employees can also provide information on where cooperation with the system is working well and what can still be improved.
About the application scenario
The application scenario Information Butler for the Office (in German) was designed by experts from Future of Work and Human-Machine Interaction working group of Plattform Lernende Systeme. The basis for the multimedia report is the white paper Introduction of AI Systems in Companies: Design approaches for change management (in German).