Robots vs. Humans: The Art of Optimization in Operations

Ryan Nisker

An essential debate is roaring at the heart of growing companies. Owners of business are constantly asking themselves how artificial intelligence will used to save their business’ money while increasing operational efficiency. Yet on the other hand, human resource proponents are looking for ways to drive more value from individuals to curb a trend of employing tools over people.

It is our belief that the art of growth and optimization relies on a combination of these worlds to drive peak performance unilaterally from system to individual and vice-versa.

Humans are excellent at crafting and managing relationships, acquiring and applying shared intellect (intuition) over time, and maintaining/managing necessary lines of communication between interconnected departments in your business. Where we seem to fail in the world of operations, is in the minutia of task management and processes. Humans simply lack the organizational skills and processing power that artificial intelligence relies upon to calculate complex queries.

If you’ve ever studied psychology, you’ll be familiar with the theory of “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two”. This theory is one of the most cited papers in all of psychology and postulates that that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2. As you can imagine, this deficiency in memory causes a massive problem in operations that artificial intelligence can solve easily.

Because of this deficiency in memory, artificially intelligent tools excel where we fail in project management, data processing, marketing, and business modelling.

Robots should never replace humans, ever. But humans should be trained to leverage robots (AI) to their fullest potential in order to provide a better economy of scale for the business in question.

Below, is a look at specific capabilities that AI has over it’s human counterpart and vice-versa: 

What Robots (AI) Do Well

  • Process mass data (acquisition, retention, referral, revenue)
  • Visualize data and trends with extreme precision and reliability (real time interconnected reporting capabilities)
  • Model trends over time based on segment performance (predictive modelling)

What Humans Do Well

  • Acquire intuition over time, apply that intuition (Where and when to use the right tool, or not at all)
  • Manage peer-to-peer (or client) relationships (There is no supplement for human interaction)
  • Translate AI learnings into bite sized information that departments can leverage for their growth

Humans need robots to grow their businesses. Robots need humans to develop their infrastructures. We now live in a wholly interconnected world of business. We would never encourage a business to silo their operations in one department at the risk of failing to meet the bigger picture of what a company truly is, a collection of people.