Over the past week, I have been fully engaged in my favorite activity (learning) with back-to-back conferences. At one, I was a presenter and at the other, I was a participant. At both, Artificial Intelligence was a hot topic.
By the end of the week, I was both overwhelmed and excited. The possibilities for AI are truly limitless and, as scary and mysterious as it might seem right now, there is no escaping the fact that it will totally and completely disrupt our way of working in the not-too-distant future.
One aspect I found most intriguing was around the interpersonal impact. Admittedly, I’ve been focused on the productivity side of things, considering how we might use AI to get more done in less time. And certainly, that’s a big benefit. But, as I’ve now learned, there are many other uses that have the potential to positively impact our interpersonal dynamics—and those ideas are equally exciting.
For example, I attended a session with two data researchers working on a new tool to analyze speech in meetings. They upload meeting transcripts, and the software uses natural language processing to provide extensive feedback about the individuals involved. It can monitor talk time, helping to highlight conversational inequity and unconscious bias, and offer insights about how different people approach challenges, their levels of risk tolerance, their motivations, and their preferred modes of conflict resolution.
Because we all behave differently with different people and in different situations, the greater the amount of sample data, the more accurate the results are likely to be. And while I certainly have a few concerns about this kind of digital assessment and its potential for manipulation, I ultimately think it will improve our ability to connect with others.
I have long been a fan of tools like the DISC assessment (and other personality assessments) to identify behavioral patterns in the workplace. But these tools rely on surveys, which require self-reporting. They ask us to identify our own behaviors, which may be interpreted differently by others. We have the benefit of knowing our intentions, which can also skew the results (intentions are often not the same as reality).
These new AI tools will be able to provide data-driven insights based on true behavior demonstrated in real-world collaborative environments. I imagine many people will see themselves a little differently when faced with the data. This has the potential to be an incredibly enriching opportunity for self-awareness and reflection.
Of course, it’s not just about understanding ourselves more; it’s also about understanding others. We can use the data to identify the right team members and learn more about how to work with them effectively. This has the power to improve team dynamics and performance, enhance problem solving, decision making, innovation and more.
I have not personally used any tool that provides the level of detail I saw at the conference, so I’m not able to make recommendations for specific tools. But that’s not really the point of this article.
My intention in sharing this is to help open the conversation around how AI may be used in the workplace of the future. Productivity enhancements are practically guaranteed, but there may be other improvements we aren’t expecting. I never would have thought that Artificial Intelligence could positively impact our relationships, but I now believe it might do just that.