blog_icon_art The Marchex Blog

Artificial Intelligence, jobs and the Pareto Principle

With the rise of artificial intelligence, it’s very likely that robots will soon be replacing some U.S. jobs. According to a new Brookings Institution report, a quarter of U.S. jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence (AI) accelerates the automation of existing work. The report explains how roughly 36 million Americans hold jobs with high exposure to automation.

However, many economists have found that AI and automation have an overall positive effect on the labor market. Matias Cortes, an assistant professor at York University, explains in this interview at the Warwick Economic Summit how these trends can create economic growth, reduce prices, and increase demand while also creating new jobs that make up for those that disappear. So rather than working against bringing AI into the workforce, it’s crucial that businesses work with it.

So, if we want to embrace AI, what approach do we take? One school of thought applies the Pareto Principle or what is often referred to as the 80/20 rule. It’s often thought of as 20 percent of your work is what drives the majority of the results, and the other 80 percent isn’t as valuable. But what if that other 80 percent is necessary to produce the 20 percent that drives outsized results? And, what if that “other 80 percent” happens to be tedious and time-consuming?

If we consider the Pareto principle when leveraging AI, we would employ human skills such as strategy, creativity, and collaboration for the 20 percent of tasks that drive 80 percent of business impact. Then, apply AI to the 80 percent of tasks that are routine-oriented and structured, making them ideal for automation. It’s worth remembering that the 80/20 split was an observation by one economist looking at several economies at a specific point in time. Each business and industry will have its own ratio of tasks that can leverage artificial intelligence to tasks that require uniquely human skills.

Here’s an example of how a marketer might apply this approach: Rather than spending time manually merging online and offline marketing attribution data, automate the process of capturing this data so it’s in one place. Then, focus your time building new campaigns instead. AI-based automation allows your business to improve marketing and sales efforts while decreasing the time spent on getting the best results. Another way to automate more of your work-life applies to sales operations teams. Many of these teams screen calls for quality and insights. By listening only to calls that really matter, rather than every phone call that comes in, sales ops team managers can free up valuable time while still getting the information they need. AI-based applications can be set up to screen for calls you deem important, by keyword, channel, and more, producing a curated list for you to examine. This leaves more time for analysis of calls that matter.

As AI continues to gain popularity, we will all be able to use it to automate more of our daily tasks, allowing us to focus on that 20 percent of work that has the biggest impact. If you would like to learn more about using AI to process, measure or glean insights from your inbound phone calls, contact us for a demo today.