Much has been said about artificial intelligence coming for the jobs done by humans but that might not have to be the case.

This is according to senior manager at Deloitte Africa, Wessel Oosthuizen, who says that AI can be used to build a more efficient workforce while assisting with cost-saving initiatives.

“Individuals with finance, engineering or computer science backgrounds – who understand both the possibilities that AI presents and its limitations – are priceless. They combine their subject matter expertise, critical thinking, data analysis and innovation, with AI tools and techniques to help their organisations make the most of AI and similar technologies,” says Oosthuizen.

While experts can be tapped up for help as regards implementation, the manager says that companies should have their own AI experts in-house to assist and guide decision-makers.

“These experts can also help ensure that companies invest in AI applications and services which address their business needs – ensuring they’re not just building AI applications for the sake of it but rather that they’re building effective models that answer specific business needs,” Oosthuizen adds.

Of course, it’s hard to ignore the effect that AI and automation have on workers and their jobs. On that point, Oosthuizen said that automation and AI should be used to free up humans from doing menial tasks. These workers could then focus on higher-value activities rather than tasks better suited for a machine.

Beyond augmenting tasks done by humans, Deloitte’s 18th edition of its Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions outline other ways companies may start implementing these newer technologies.

This year more companies will make use of cloud-based AI solutions than ever before. The predictions further outline that by 2020, the penetration rate of enterprise software that contains AI capabilities will reach 87 percent.

Many companies are already using applications and services powered by AI without even knowing it but what Oosthuizen is getting at is that more firms should start looking at how AI can improve their business processes.

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