AI In 2024: Beware Hallucinations, Pinpoint The Problem And Never Replace The Human Connection

Steve Murphy is the CEO of Epicor, a global leader providing flexible, industry-specific software designed around its customers’ needs.


For months now, we’ve seen articles on how AI will change the economic landscape, mark a new era in technology and enable breakthroughs for businesses everywhere. It’s an exciting time to be in the world of technology—but before we get to the global breakthroughs that the world is telling us are coming, we must be realistic with ourselves and understand how humans will play the most important role in the success of AI. Here’s my advice to business owners as they consider implementing AI into their 2024 strategies.

To reap the full value of AI, pinpoint the problem.
AI will come in different models and flavors specifically designed to solve a pointed problem for various industries. For example, healthcare will have a model that is completely devoted to answering questions about treating an illness. Wall Street will have a model to help educate on how to trade treasury bonds in a market with declining interest rates. For AI to be effective in these highly specific use cases, business leaders must be able to precisely identify the problem that they want AI to solve. That’s the key to realizing the greatest value from the technology.

Once you’ve identified the problem itself, the business will need to turn to its technology partner to learn how AI really works. Especially over time, it will become surprisingly difficult to distinguish accurate and verifiable information from "GenAI hallucinations."

The more the programmer tunes the model to be "human-like," the more creativity the model will need to pull in. When you create tension between creativity and precision… well, even humans have daydreams from time to time. The same thing goes for your AI model. Learning about how the model works will help you identify those moments so you can continue to make the best decisions possible for your business.

The more you interact with the AI software, the easier it will be to ensure that the model behaves as it’s supposed to. While we’ve seen conversations of AI "replacing" humans, we already know that to get AI to do its job, humans still need to be the subject matter experts.

Place your bets on these three use cases.
The hype around AI is real. To cut through the noise, businesses will need to be prepared to strongly scrutinize the tangible value the technology can deliver. From my perspective, there are three distinct use cases for which I see AI delivering a clear, tangible impact: 1) AI will assist service workers in answering technical questions in real time, 2) AI will enhance decision-making based on business performance and 3) AI will help accelerate and expand everyone’s learning potential.

1. AI assists service workers.
Regardless of industry, AI will be tuned to help service representatives have immediate access to the correct information their customers need. This won’t eliminate service representative roles—but it will help the people in those roles have more productive conversations and boost customer satisfaction.

2. AI enhances decision-making.
AI will create a quicker, seamless process to report on business performance—and more importantly, help businesses make data-driven decisions from those reports to grow and scale. For example, AI can assist supply chain businesses tremendously, from predictive analytics to drawing conclusions from their BI dashboards and using generative AI for information on logistics.

Eventually, businesses across the "make, move, sell economy" will be able to drive supply chain efficiencies like never before. In any industry, though, AI will assist workers in making quicker, more accurate decisions based off of insights.

3. AI helps people learn.
Lastly, AI will be a great fit for interactive learning. Look at it this way: Algebra has not changed much in the past 3,000 years. However, our understanding of how to learn the topic has changed quite a bit. AI is another evolution of how workers learn more effectively and quickly. This adoption will greatly increase the speed of worker onboarding.

Don’t even try to replace employees with AI.
The rise of AI certainly has heightened concerns about job displacement.

My view? I don’t think AI will displace humans. But I’ll go further than that. I predict that businesses that attempt to replace humans with AI will fail.

The human connection simply cannot be replaced with software.

Think about your customer experience. Regardless of industry, almost no service plan ever could succeed without contact with your customer. People will be required to handle parts of some interactions with the customer. Before you attempt to replace the human with the technology, my advice is to “stress test” the solution well ahead of time to understand the moments that matter (i.e., the moments when you need human interaction).

As people begin to test AI within their businesses, what they will likely find is that AI will minimize the touchpoints needed with humans, but humans themselves remain indispensable.

Think about the emergence of power tools—carpenters were never out of a job because they still needed to operate the tool. Or, when computers were created, accountants didn’t go out of work, but they did learn to be more efficient digitally. The same goes for AI. It will not replace jobs, only create efficiencies in the jobs that exist today.

Overall, I do believe there will be businesses that succeed with AI—and businesses that won’t. As you go into 2024, confer closely with your technology partners to identify the places where AI can deliver significant returns for your business. Work with them not only on implementation plans, but also change management, so your employees are also on board.

Most of all, come back to the principle of how you can make AI work for you, not the other way around.
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