AI’s World Remix – Seton Hall University

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From pandemic resilience to ethical integration — exploring the impact of artificial
intelligence on our interconnected society.

In the world we inhabit today, which is far more interconnected than previous generations,
the role of technology has been pivotal. The recent COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated
this interconnectedness, with technology playing a crucial part in allowing life and
work to continue despite global lockdowns.

Essential workers, like healthcare professionals and delivery personnel, became the
backbone of our societies, and their roles were facilitated by technology — from communication
platforms to logistics management and vaccine development. It was through leveraging
artificial intelligence from foundational systems and learning from HIV research that
Moderna and Pfizer were able to produce applicable vaccines in less than 12 months.1

Learning is the engine of human progress and in today’s world, this process is supercharged
by technology. Large datasets and machine-learning algorithms have accelerated the
speed of development, enabling instant collaboration between researchers and employees
worldwide. But it is the unforeseen application of technology that supports pivotal
shifts in the marketplace. These shifts come from the “adjacent possibilities,” introduced
by Steven Johnson, which explains how technological innovations pave the way for unforeseen
developments. GPS, originally intended for airline safety, now underpins our logistics
systems, which allowed for food and goods deliveries during the pandemic, while Large
Language Models (LLMs) like GPT and Llama 2 are reshaping our approach to learning,
work and daily life. We can learn and comprehend faster now, using AI to obtain key
takeaways from readings and research across many sources, then to dive deeper into
key areas of focus, translating learning from passive absorption to interactive engagement,
resulting in nuanced and rapid applications of newly acquired knowledge.

Understanding AI Beyond LLMs

AI is often confused with LLMs, but it is a constellation of technologies that includes
machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, robotics and expert
systems. AI has been instrumental in many fields, from space exploration to providing
daily weather and traffic updates through digital assistants.

LLMs have made AI accessible to the masses, enabling interactions in a conversational
style that was once exclusively human. They challenge us to reconsider the future
of labor; if AI can assimilate vast amounts of knowledge and perform tasks efficiently,
the need for human roles in research, writing and coding will need to evolve.

How much copiloting of AI’s collection will be enough? This will vary according to
the people leveraging the capabilities and will require that we all peer review each
other’s content. 
How do we fact-check this vast amount of research that I formerly would have Googled
or checked out in a reference library collection? This begins to question truth and
fact and requires people to examine reality much more critically to siphon off fake
or wrong rationalizations introduced by hallucinations or by nefarious contributors.

AI’s Role Across Industries

AI has a transformative role that extends across all industries. In health care, for
instance, AI could lead to avatar driven telemedicine and robotic nurses providing
care, revolutionizing patient monitoring and treatment, leading to technologically
enhanced home care at lower costs.

AI also affects journalism, marketing, electoral systems and education. It raises
the possibility of a new form of human interaction, where AI is a tool that can be
used for great benefit or harm if not constantly questioned and checked. The risk
of human adoption and autopilot of this technology is very high, as we can see in
incidents caused by self-driving vehicles like Tesla. Drivers trust in technology,
and the resulting switching off of the human brain’s natural instincts and awareness
may have led to 17 fatalities and 736 crashes since 2019.2

These crashes were connected to Tesla’s Autopilot system and involved many factors,
including driver unawareness. These incidents highlight that while AI is a significant
convenience that can accelerate vaccine production in the most desperate times, it
will continue to require responsible human oversight and critical thinking to ensure
that output passes the “smell” test.

Implementing AI: Framework for Integration

Putting AI to use requires careful consideration. In education, rather than banning
AI tools like ChatGPT, it is more effective to educate students, faculty and administrators
about its power and risks.

Similarly, corporations need frameworks that allow for the secure and responsible
use of AI, ensuring data security and preventing misuse. Employees will need to be
able to understand AI outputs, compare them in reasonable frequency to validate them
for accuracy, while applying critical thinking and implementing processes to ensure
the validity of the output.

In terms of AI governance, an iterative process is required, involving data security
and responsibility. Questions must be raised around the geographic regulations of
data use and sovereignty on how data is used and stored. Continuously working to remove
inherent biases that are introduced during development or singular thinking is critical.
Governance methods should be developed to validate ethical data use as AI is implemented
in employee management systems, customer care, product development and sales.

Corporate Spaces and Consumer Interactions

AI’s potential in consumer and corporate spaces is significant. It can improve the
way customer care agents respond to inquiries with tools already available in Contact
Center environments to help them find answers, as well as, listen to customer sentiment
and advise them on how to respond. Or it can even prevent calls from being raised
to agents entirely and provide a faster resolution to improve customer experience.

Customers will always want to speak to agents — the question is, will that agent still
be human or an avatar, and will the customer be able to tell the difference? I think
that is still a couple of years out, but with the pace of innovation, it is highly
likely.

AI from an employee’s experience will change the way corporations assign projects
or hire and retain talent. AI will be able to align employee skills, personalities
and aspirations with organizational goals, fostering teams that align with a company’s
vision and resonate with employees’ search for meaningful work. KeeperAI, for instance,
uses psychometrics developed with machine learning to create profiles that align employees
with projects matching their skills and motivations. This approach aims to improve
employee engagement, reduce turnover and enhance productivity.

The CEO and founder of KeeperAI, Vishal Ahluwalia, recently spoke about the platform’s
role in changing the workforce of tomorrow, where he said, “We use AI and computer
vision to enable a more human way of working: Our platform can be used to empowers
people to tell a story about themselves through imagery, interests and daily reflections,
and by allowing users to highlight personality traits. The insights provide an intuitive
and easy-to-understand profile presentation of themselves that help others get to
know them in a world where we hop on and off video meetings and lack water cooler
conversations. This light touch social media interaction expressing their affinity
groups allow us to better align people to teams, projects and each other, simultaneously
bridging team relationships so that they can move from storming to norming faster.”

While this is an excellent goal, it is important to go back to the adjacent possibilities
where technology is introduced for a specific purpose but then is extended beyond
the founder’s use or purpose. This can, like nuclear energy, have negative implementations,
introducing discrimination through biases or promoting unintentional corporate policies
based on the insights provided by the application.

Mr. Ahulwalia acknowledged the risk in this statement, “We adhere to regulatory requirements
and partner with our clients to establish protocols during implementation of the platform.
Still, like any other product, you put it out into the ether; you really can’t imagine
all the ways folks will engage the insights or apply integrations to workforce management
practices. We continue to be very careful and vigilant around the application of the
insights by our customers and work with them in establishing frameworks that will
limit harm or biases from the learnings. Our goal is to create a cohesive work environment
where people thrive and feel safe to share their vibe.”

Conclusion

The rise of AI and technology is ushering in new implementations, professions, treatments
and services. While there will be a need for prompt engineers for LLMs, computer vision
and expert systems, there is also a greater need for individuals who can think about
AI security, ethics, law, philosophy, health and safety. Ensuring that AI serves to
enhance our humanistic values of liberty, equality and fraternity is paramount.


This article originally appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of In the Lead magazine, from Stillman School of Business’s Department of Management and the Buccino Leadership Institute. The bi-annual magazine focuses on leadership perspectives from the field of health
care, with content that is curated from leaders across the industry who share lessons
learned from real-world experiences.

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Business, Science and Technology

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