Credit: Google News
Algorithms surround us. Google uses them to deliver search results faster and more reliably. Netflix employs them to suggest your next favorite movie. And Spotify lets them create music playlists where you can discover new artists based on your musical taste.
Done well, algorithms help us find the answers we need and the products we want; done poorly, they deny loans to the poor and profile people as criminals based on race. No matter how you feel about algorithms or their results, they are changing your business—whether you’re ready or not.
So what can you do to get ready for the algorithmic age? In his new book The Algorithmic Leader, futurist Mike Walsh examines some of the challenges algorithms, machine learning, and neural networks will present us. Here are three insights to help you prepare.
Focus on data.
In the past, a business produced a product or service. Now your company’s product will be data. To the average person, it might look like your company sells coffee, shows movies, or provides medical services.
But your real business will be using data to guide how, when, where, and for whom you do it. This knowledge will be more important and valuable than your actual product. Consumer data is so powerful it can fund companies. Mitch Lowe’s MoviePass only made it as far as it did because of his plan to sell movie-goers’ data. Facebook sells advertising but user data is their real cash cow. And it could be yours too.
Whatever jobs can be automated will be automated. Repetitive tasks will be eliminated for most of us. People will no longer work like machines on assembly lines, but will instead control assembly lines of machines.
The best way to keep people employed is to find the new job within the old job. Humans will be employed to do non-routine, non-repetitive work computers can’t do. For example, security guards who simply walked around to observe and report will now control machines that do the same thing. Truck drivers might oversee fleets of self-driving trucks. Radiologists will give more guidance to patients now that algorithms can consistently and reliably analyze x-rays.
Connect with people.
Algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will liberate most of us from drudgery. Instead of connecting with machines, you will connect with people.
The classic example is when ATMs were introduced. Initially, bank teller jobs disappeared as the new machines could dispense cash quicker, more reliably, and conveniently than bank tellers. But in the long run, teller jobs and bank locations actually increased. Why? Because tellers could now focus on customer service, helping people to purchase more bank services.
The future is now. Algorithms are here to stay. They can both help and hurt your business. But the result entirely depends on how you prepare yourself.
Credit: Google News