Every other headline seems to remind us that the machines are coming. Too often, the narrative is framed as humans versus machines, with machines displacing not just human work, but also human values and interactions. We believe that the real power of AI will be humans with machines.
How can humans continue to learn, evolve, and grow as the capabilities of machines continue to advance? That’s the question explored by the Deloitte Digital Human Experience Advisory Board—comprised of senior leaders who are passionate about the field of customer and workforce experience—when they gathered recently to discuss one of today’s most pressing and fast-evolving topics.
Here’s what we heard as Nitin Mittal, global AI leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP, joined Amelia Dunlop, chief experience officer, Deloitte Digital, to share their insights.
Artificial intelligence is reshaping society in real time, and advances recently introduced in generative AI have the potential to create a closer relationship between humans and technology, even more than the smartphone and the web. The economic and business impacts will be rapid, with AI augmentation expected to reach $4.7 trillion of business value by 2024.¹ The impact on the workforce—and how and what work is done by humans—will be significant: 80% of the US workforce will see their jobs impacted in some way.²
At its best, generative AI is not about replacement or substitution; it is about augmentation. AI can enhance human knowledge and experience, resulting in even greater creativity, innovation, and productivity.
“Human versus machine is a common narrative. While it’s true that the risks are real and must be addressed, we believe Humans with Machines, and the power of technological augmentation, has the potential to elevate the human experience in ways we previously couldn’t imagine.”
– Nitin Mittal, global AI leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP
As machines get closer to replicating human cognition and decision-making, new opportunities to enhance and augment the customer and workforce experience emerge.
Consumers are already enjoying the benefits of AI. For example, augmented reality makes it possible to visualize products in a home before they are purchased, improving the customer experience and lowering return rates. Other tools help merchants write catalog product descriptions so customers can find products quickly. Customer service AI chatbots answer consumer questions immediately, 24/7, reducing support volume and resolution times. These chatbots are becoming so capable that consumers age 18-24 prefer to interact with a chatbot over a human to learn more about a product.³
AI will also play an increasingly important role in the workforce, not only in augmenting human capabilities, but in improving the workforce experience. Considering that in the near future, every college graduate will be generative AI native, organizations should anticipate delivering training and workplace experiences using AI to attract and retain this new generation of talent.
AI transformation is helping to streamline the workforce journey, activating easier sourcing solutions and simplifying the hiring path for prospective employees. AI-driven performance evaluation programs help professionals get real-time insights into productivity and efficiency.
While AI presents potential and promise for the human experience, it also presents a real and urgent challenge for leaders to mitigate concerns and create solutions for its responsible application. Data abuse, bias, misinformation, fear of replacing human workers, loss of human empathy and agency, as well as dependence lock-in and “runaway machines” are among the concerns raised by experts.
The public and private sectors are in the early days of addressing these challenges. While governments are establishing some guardrails and new regulations, they are, at least for now, lagging behind the rapid advances occurring in the marketplace. Private industry should take responsibility for approaching, developing, and using the technology wisely—and taking the lead in this realm can help organizations differentiate.
“A human approach to AI is necessary to enable the kind of customer and workforce experiences that respect our humanity, sustain a level of empathy, and earn a measure of trust. Respect for these essential elements of being human is essential to realize positive applications—and positive outcomes—of AI in experience."
– Amelia Dunlop, chief experience officer, Deloitte Digital
A human-centered approach to considering AI suggests four tenets to guide its application:
- For and with humans. Develop AI applications for the common good and benefit of the community, co-created with and deployed by people.
- Equity at the center. Design AI applications to be accessible to humans and controlled for bias, particularly for the historically marginalized, the disabled, and highly sensitive populations.
- Transparent and accountable. Be clear on when AI is being used, how it works, and who is responsible, so you can trust the experiences it creates.
- Secure. Build AI applications with end-to-end privacy and consent for how data is used.
1. Gartner, "Forecast: The Business Value of Artificial Intelligence, Worldwide, 2017-2025," March 12, 2018.
2. OpenAI, "GPTs Are GPTs: An Early Look at the Labor Market Impact Potential of Large Language Models," March 17, 2023.
3. LivePerson, "2023 State of Customer Engagement," February 15, 2023.