Meet your newest team member – AI. Artificial intelligence will not try to outshine you in meetings, compete for that promotion, or gossip in the office. A loyal and helpful addition to your daily routine, it will allow to improve professional performance – and get you home in time for dinner.

Fear of “evil AI” is well documented and to some extent understandable. Some prominent tech enthusiasts are worried about AI running amok or being misused, with Elon Musk calling it “an existential threat”. Others fear AI’s will cause mass unemployment or are sceptical of AI’s ability as they claim their job is irreplaceable.

Whatever happens, “harmless and helpful AI” will soon permeate everyday reality, from realms as diverse as shopping recommendations to self-driving cars. According to Samuel Nessbaum, IBM’s AI currently has a 90% successful diagnosis rate for lung cancer, compared to 50% for doctors. In addition, AI correctly predicted Donald Trump’s presidency, despite Hilary Clinton’s strong lead in the polls at the time. According to Gartner, AI will write as much as 20% of business content by 2018 and will participate in 5% of all economic transactions by 2020. By embracing the use of AI, early adopters can be ahead of the game professionally. In this article we explore the new team member in professional services.

One of the most common elements of professional routines – reading documents – is not traditionally viewed as teamwork, more like a job that is per definition solitary. In addition, often, uneven credit is given to individuals, and worst of all, the actual outcome is less than the aggregate of individual creative/analytical efforts. AI based on machine learning has the potential to become a useful team member that will help turn this solitary job of reading documents into a more enjoyable shareable activity, creating instantly comprehensible, relevant information.

This shareable information is extremely useful, especially in the professional services domain. Lawyers, bankers, and fund managers often exchange hundreds of emails, articles, comments, questions on a daily basis. This accounts for a large part of their time in and out of the office.

What if we could dramatically reinvent this time- and energy-consuming activity and make your work less repetitive and more valuable to yourself and others? It will redefine the way we perceive teamwork and knowledge sharing.

AI can help reduce your workload by eliminating duplication of tasks and facilitate capturing and sharing ideas more effectively. This in turn allows to tap into the wisdom of the crowd, focussing on the key points more quickly.

Imagine reading through an entire document on your own only once while your AI points out all the key ideas. Having analysed a document “together” allows your colleagues to see the work that’s already been done and build on it rather than go over the same unimportant paragraphs in a long and complex document.

As a result, time spent on mundane parts of document analysis will be significantly reduced, the process of exchanging ideas and comments will be streamlined and team members will see the significance of their individual input more quickly.

For example, Document Analysis Platforms facilitate augmented document analysis teamwork.  It has already changed how lawyers conduct their work by locating and ranking relevant clauses in legal documents for you. In finance, firms can use AI in multiples areas, for instance in data analysis and fraud detection. Rather than taking hours repetitively sifting through documents, AI can do it in seconds. This will create more focused meetings, less time expended for colleagues, and more refined work.

More energy can be invested into new projects exploring team members’ potential, roles, strengths and aspirations.  Ultimately the work will become more interesting and involve higher-level human interaction, allowing you to work faster and better.

New Year sets artificial marking points that allows to start afresh and set time to come up with new goals. Currently, exploring which useful AI team members “to hire” is on the forefront of many executives’ minds – from law to asset management to corporates – even in academia. In 2017 your AI team member will help you get a healthier work-life balance and achieve more professionally.

Elena Ginzburg is Head of Customer Success at TagDox; she previously worked at Bloomberg and BDO. TagDox is the world’s first Document Analysis Platform that enables firms and individuals to analyse documents in a collaborative, semi-automated and structured manner.

To learn more about Document Analysis Platforms, please visit the TagDox web site and LinkedIn page.

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