For humane success, C-suite executives should combine AI with human input

It’s been a great few years for artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. Every day, it seems like more and more businesses spring up asserting that they’ll reinvent the way we work. Many of these businesses have focused on the role of the executive or personal assistant. But can senior executives succeed with only the help of robots? How important is it to conduct business with a personal touch? 

In August, AI-powered personal assistant X.ai raised a US$10m funding round to expand its suite of features and begin working in new languages. X.ai’s assistant, Amy Ingram (you can also enjoy the services of her brother Andrew) schedules meetings by having a conversation with you over email. The use of data science techniques such as natural language processing means that Amy can interpret what you say and identify the periods of time in which you’re available. She’s also integrated with your calendar, so reminders and invites are automatically set up and sent. 

All this sounds futuristic, time-saving and cheap. Perfect for the busy senior executive, right? However, for tech-savvy C-suite leaders thinking of adopting a workplace AI tool, they should remember why the executive assistant is still a force to be reckoned with. Prialto, a company specialising in virtual executive assistance, says:

“While artificial intelligence may be faster and better at processing technical solutions than the vast majority of us, AI does not have our human capacity for pattern recognition, judgment, creativity or personal touch.”

Clearly, top-class executive assistance relies on more than being able to instantly schedule meetings and interpret select instructions. Melba Duncan, author and president of the Duncan Group, commented in an interview with Harvard Business Review that “Executive assistants know what the executive has to do every single day, what must be completed, what’s the goal, what are the deadlines.” Right now at least, it’s just not possible for an AI to grasp this kind of context.

At the same time, though, it’s true that millions of people worldwide have come to rely on transformative technologies like cloud computing and global video calling. Technological progress has revolutionised certain areas of the workplace, but in some domains - like executive assistance - it appears that tech works best when it has a human face.

Another vital area of business performance - one that many C-level executives deal with regularly - is securing financing. In growing businesses, it is often necessary to have a solution in place to account for changes to working capital and cash flow. Increasingly, small- and medium-sized businesses are realising that their high-street bank isn’t the only option available, and are turning to flexible online lending platforms. Many firms in this space focus on the convenience and sophistication of technology. At Growth Street, though, we think that your finance provider should be like an executive assistant - smart and speedy, but with the empathy and understanding that creates a true partnership.

We use cutting-edge technology, so the approval and funding process is as hassle-free as possible. But from day one, you’ll work directly alongside our team of relationship managers who smooth the process. 

Smarter business finance - with a human face: Growth Street is fuel for growing businesses.  Get in touch with us at hello@growthstreet.co.uk, or head to @GrowthStreetUK, to find out more.

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Growth Street Exchange Limited is registered in the UK, company number 09495712. Growth Street Exchange Limited is an Appointed Representative of Resolution Compliance Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (no. 574048).

Written on in Business Insights