“Humans are underrated." – Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla
As enterprises enthusiastically invest in artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent automation technologies to achieve productivity gains and other business objectives, the critical role that humans play is sometimes overlooked. Here, I'll explain why putting humans at the heart of every AI project, also known as a “human-in-the-loop" approach, is critical to success.
Elon Musk learned an important lesson last year when Tesla was investing in robotics and other advanced technologies to ramp up production of its Model 3 electric vehicle. After initially trying to build the most automated automobile production facility in the world, Tesla failed. In an interview, Musk willingly admitted where he had gone wrong: “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated."
According to research, a quarter of senior executives say they plan to fundamentally reimagine their businesses with AI by the end of 2021. Unfortunately, these AI projects are still “shiny objects," and it is easy for executives to fall into the trap – as Musk did – of thinking that success is dependent solely on the technologies deployed. A critical yet often undervalued ingredient for AI projects is people. Why? Because humans still have unique expertise that machines may never have.