‘Outsmarted by an algorithm!’ Quipped my colleague. He had just read about IBM’s use of artificial intelligence to predict what employees are most likely to leave.
‘Now I know how chess champion Garry Kasparov must have felt when he was beaten by IBM’s Deep Blue’ he continued with a tone of disappointment in his voice.
Fearing that a luddite might have been revealed in our mist another colleague pipped up – ‘We are doing the same thing as IBM… We are also replacing management intuition with an algorithm!’ he proclaimed.
At that point I chipped in – ‘you are right. … but perhaps augmenting is a better word than replacing!’.
‘We don’t want to replace management intuition with artificial intelligence, but rather augment it!’ I added. ‘After all, there are a lot of things that AI can’t do!’
An algorithm cannot listen to people, engage people or lead people. It cannot make them feel valued / appreciated. An algorithm can analyse lots of data, spot patterns in the data and identify correlates of behavior, better than most managers (with the exception of the few that belong to Mensa!).
In reality, it will be a long time before an algorithm can replace a leader-manager. But it is the combination of manager and algorithm that is unbeatable! So, it is not a one nil score, but rather a win-win!
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