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Humans and AI:
How 5G can
support AI and
humans working
together

Author: Sue Poremba

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for some time, but businesses still haven't tapped its full potential just yet. That should change with 5G, which is expected to revolutionize AI and make it an integral part of the digital transformation.

However, with the excitement surrounding 5G's impact on AI, there is a mistaken belief that the human workforce will be replaced. The reality is businesses have the most to gain from the technology by empowering AI and humans working together.

AI and human collaboration allows man and machine to work as a team rather than independently. Combine that with 5G, and organizations could move into a whole new phase of computing that can revolutionize the way businesses operate both internally and with customers.

Business operations and productivity

On their own, AI and 5G are each a disruptive technology that could revolutionize business operations for virtually every industry. When combined, businesses could see higher levels of efficiency in the AI technologies they already use. The faster speed of 5G can help give AI better contextual awareness to make more appropriate algorithm-based choices.

With 5G, AI can be better utilized where LTE and Wi-Fi connections are currently insufficient. 5G not only provides high speed and low latency, but will eventually also provide high connection density, which can allow for a greater number of connections in a given area than an LTE or WiFi solution. This potentially widens the reach, for example, for AI-based supply chain moderation, for example.

You might see AI and humans working together in the supply chain—a factory manager relying on a wider range of sensors to generate real-time data that adjusts to the needs of the moment.

AI and humans working together

With AI and humans working together, organizations should see improvements in productivity, since humans and AI enhanced with 5G could make overall business operations more efficient and create a better work-life balance for employees.

Humans and AI could enable the reliance on machines to perform jobs humans once had to do manually. Whether it is studying computer logs looking for false security alerts or traveling to a remote worksite for meter readings, AI offers the potential for real-time monitoring at a faster rate, freeing up the human employee for other duties.

For example, AI monitoring a pipeline project might detect a leak or a breach, 5G can be used to send that data to an employee instantly, and a drone investigating the problem might be manned from an office computer, which, in turn, might let the human make the correct call quickly to mitigate the situation. The employee in this situation would not have to travel to the location, which could be hundreds of miles away, to remediate the issue.

Thanks to data, AI can be hyper-targeted both for the job and the individual. A chatbot, for example, could be programmed to answer a list of specific questions from a customer and then directed to another AI program that goes into greater detail on a topic or to call a human employee when the problem requires a more nuanced approach. Or it can be programmed to detect and fix errors in manufacturing plants. Many companies require an employee to be on call during off-work hours to handle customer problems or system errors. AI has the potential to handle the more menial of these tasks and knows when to contact the on-call employee for something out of its scope.

Processes and applications for AI and human collaboration

The AI and human collaboration begins with employees recognizing the functionality of AI and creating the algorithms to detect emerging patterns. Humans also need to set specific criteria for the AI's duties.

Where 5G, AI and humans working together could offer the greatest advantage to any business is the improvements to data analysis. AI digs through the excess data to discover what is most useful—for a retail store, the algorithms might be patterned to match certain shoppers with special offers. Then, humans could design the sales pitch, and use 5G to deliver the offer as the shopper walks through the store, hitting dozens of phones at a time. Humans and AI, powered by 5G, could help speed data analysis corporations need to compete in the marketplace through improved AI and human collaboration and productivity.

AI as a Service (AIaaS) outsources AI for companies that may not have the budget for AI technologies but need them for better production. With AIaaS, AI can impact business processes in new ways, allowing humans and AI to partner creatively. Even if the company is still awaiting buy-in, they can experiment with AI to see how employees can best use it.

AI and humans working together should become more commonplace as 5G makes technologies more accessible and efficient.

Discover more examples of AI applications and how AI is changing the world.