“Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” – book by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson (book review)

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming really hot topics. Take Europe companies, for example – it is enough to through in the discussion the “digitalization” and the “machine learning” topics and you will get the CEO’s attention. But as in most mini-industrial revolutions, the devil hides into the details. And the very same companies that push for transforming themselves are having a difficult time to perform the transformation itself. This is because of multiple reasons – not the smallest being a certain lack of knowledge ramp up during the current revolution.
“Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” takes an interesting middle ground approach to the topic. On one hand, it lays down quickly the rules governing this brave new volatile world – data agility.

On the other hand – and I would not expect less from a Harvard Business Review book – it takes the reader through various practical AI applications within an enterprise: production, back office, R&D. Obviously, the book is highly practical – therefore the reader is taken through reams of study cases which will detail the practical side of using machine learning.
Part two of the book becomes more strategic, attempting to provide a missing middle between the old and the new paradigm. In the authors’ view, the way humans work together with the machines will change quite a bit, thus executives need to provide the framework and the change tools for adapting their companies. “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” gets now into the future zone, by looking at how humans can enhance the machines – and viceversa. Fortunately (or not), the more the two work together, the deeper the alterations needed to the interactions and the working environments – and here Daugherty and Wilson take some twists and turns in their approach. To throw in a few acronyms, expect to see less of a coding and more of “reciprocal apprenticing” or “judgment integration” processes in the next future. In this respect, “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” takes a leap of faith toward the future psychology of the working part of our species, where efforts and types will change dramatically.
Last but not least, I found quite interesting the (“five crucial”) principles used behind the scenes for deriving competitive advantage for the organizations – mindset, leadership, experimentation, data supply chain and skills. They give food for thought to the rest of us, still with 1,5 feet in the old paradigm – and challenge our current world view. In this respect, “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” can be quite theoretical (one reason being that the authors are more on the R&D side than on the business executive one). But after all, you can read interesting AI study cases every day in the news – the real strategy trick is to generate one and get on the front page. And I think that this book might inspire you do exactly just that.
Happy reading!
“Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” is a book published by Harvard Business Review, which is not affiliated in any way with doitinvest.com.

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