Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming the face of brands, Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Accenture, recently said.

SwissCognitive“AI is the most important technology trend today. It is not a right, but a human obligation. AI should be leveraged to create opportunities for organizations as well as society,” highlighted Daugherty, while speaking at an interactive session in Mumbai.

The event also saw the technology leader discussing the book titled ‘Human+Machine —Reimagining work in the age of AI’ – which he co-authored along with H. James Wilson,Managing Director of Information Technology and Business Research, Accenture – which reveals how companies can use AI to leap ahead on innovation and profitability.

As defined by the authors, AI includes “systems that extend human capability by sensing, comprehending, acting, and learning”. Speaking at the session, Daugherty said AI has made way for the third wave of business transformation—a phase where humans and machines collaborate to ease and increase the pace of operations. In such a workplace, humans and machines aren’t adversaries, but help augment each other’s abilities. For instance, while humans train and manage AI applications, machines help humans in processing large amounts of data that the latter would otherwise find impossible to do.

“In our research, we found that companies that use AI to augment their human talent while reimagining their business processes achieve step gains in performance, propelling themselves to the forefront of their industries,” reads an extract from the book. Daugherty has termed this as the ‘missing middle’— ‘missing’ because almost no one talks about it, and very few companies are currently working towards it.

“It is believed that machines will take over our jobs. However, this is not true. Yes, jobs will be displaced because of AI, but many more will be created,” he said at the event.

Daugherty quoted a report by the World Economic Forum in this regard, which states that although machines and algorithms at the workplace are likely to displace 75 million jobs by 2022, they will generate 133 million new roles within the same time frame.

While outlining how companies are preparing for AI, he said they are doing so by adopting five crucial principles of organizational mindset, experimentation, leadership, data, and skills(MELDS). According to Daugherty, around 8% of the 1,500 organizations surveyed during the process of writing the book—and which have implemented MELDS—are already reaping the benefits of AI.

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While mindset is about reimagining work around the ‘missing middle’, experimentation is about finding out the correct division of labour between humans and machines. Leadership, Daugherty said, is about organizations assessing the ethical, moral, and legal implications of AI, as well ashelping employees become more comfortable with their AI co-workers.[…]

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