IBM Think is a virtual conference this year and the company’s flagship annual event for customers and partners. The event took place May 11 (Americas) and May 12 (APAC and EMEA). IBM positions THINK as the world’s premier AI (artificial intelligence) and hybrid cloud market. Think 2021 offered more content, accessible in more ways, to more people across the globe. Here are two key themes related to RPA and Intelligent Automation that recurred throughout the event.
Robotic Assistants Amplify Human Potential
The fears that AI will steal human jobs are unfounded. The reality is that humans and robots make excellent co-workers. “We’re never finding the zero-sum game because there is always something for people to do,” Glenn Finch, global leader of big data and analytics at IBM, said during a discussion on how AI is amplifying human potential in the workplace. Emphasizing that the goal is “liberating human capability,” Finch described the new way of working as a “seamless interaction between digital workers and human workers.”
The COVID pandemic created immediate use-case examples for AI assistants, highlighting the positives of robotic helpmates in the workplace.
“A lot of the more routine mundane tasks can be done by AI and robotics. All of the really hard complex cases that only a human being can adjudicate, that’s what the folks that were doing the more mundane work can go focus on.”
Glenn Finch, Global leader of big data and analytics, IBM
With companies seeing the benefits of collaboration between humans and machines, AI assistants are becoming welcomed into the workplace. And no one is losing their job. Almost no one.
“AI won’t replace managers, but managers that use AI will replace the managers that do not.”
Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, IBM
Intelligent Automation is The Secret to Smooth Digital Transformation
When companies first started to undertake the journey to digitization, incorporating artificial intelligence was a pipe dream. Not so today. The technology is now accessible for any size business, and taking advantage is critical for companies undergoing digital transformations. Traditional automation relieves humans of repetitive tasks, but intelligent automation can take that a step further by augmenting human skills. This is analogous to self-driving cars in the way that business operations can be put on “autopilot.”
The automation of the enterprise will be “the next tidal wave to hit organizations,” according to Savio Rodrigues, VP of integration and application platform for IBM. And he’s not just talking about automating business tasks.
“We think that the real differentiation is going to come to organizations that attack the task of automating work for all three labor types: business, developers, and information technology.”
Savio Rodrigues, VP of integration and application platform, IBM
Vinodh Swaminathan, principal of cloud, data, and AI strategy, CIO and Advisory at KPMG LLC adds:
“Companies like IBM have done a phenomenal job of demystifying the technology, making it much more accessible for the business user. We’re going to see continued momentum in adopting these kinds of simple technologies to transform business processes, customer interactions, and so on.”