Episode 156.5 – Green Apple Slice


Harvard and MIT Say A.I. Isn’t Going to Steal Your Job, But Your Colleagues Who Embrace It Will



The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss an Inc article, “Harvard and MIT Say A.I. Isn’t Going to Steal Your Job, But Your Colleagues Who Embrace It Will” by Adam Robinson.


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    Good morning. It’s John Garrett coming to you with an episode of Green Apple Slices. I have on the other line the Accountants Group Leader for all over Canada, coming up apparently for Sage, Rachel Fisch.

    Rachel: Hello, John. How are you?

    John: Doing great. Where in the world of Canada are you now?

    Rachel: I am enjoying Thanksgiving at home —

    John: Oh, nice!

    Rachel: So Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Canadian listeners, yeah.

    John: Happy Thanksgiving! There you go. Awesome. Do you guys have pilgrims and stuff for your Thanksgiving too?

    Rachel: No, we’re a little more into the farmers and harvest. The pilgrims is kind of a US thing.

    John: Got it. All right, well, one day you guys will come around and get some big buckles on your shoes and hand turkeys. There’s nothing more American than that.

    Rachel: Yeah, no, we have it. And it’s a full turkey dinner with all the fixings, you name it. And it’s the second Monday in October, so that’s today. So Happy Thanksgiving!

    John: Nice. Very cool. Well, yeah, I’ll let you get to the dinner table. I don’t want to hold you up. But before we do, everyone’s going to want to hear about this article that I found on Inc. by Adam Robinson, and it’s about AI. So I knew that that’s the only way I get you to pick up on a holiday.

    Rachel: I know. It gets me all excited when you pick some of the more techie stuff. And so the title is “Harvard and MIT Say A.I. Isn’t Going to Steal Your Job, But Your Colleagues Who Embrace It Will.” Well, I mean, we’ve seen that technology kind of inundates the accounting and even professional services industries and things like that, especially when it comes to how it manages data or data, depending on where you’re from. Of course, the whole idea around technology is that it’s going to automate your manual processes, right? So from, let’s say, an accounting practitioner or bookkeeping standpoint, you want to automate those redundant or recurring tasks much as possible so that you have time to become a — I know you hate trusted advisor — an advisor advisor —

    John: You can just be really good at your job.

    Rachel: Just really great at your job and just creating these great relationships with your clients and things like that, so you’ve got more time to do all of those things. But I thought it was really interesting to kind of take the employee engagement spin on this a little bit to say, okay, if data is more accessible or if you’re replacing redundant tasks and manual processes by automation, what does that actually mean to you as an organization? I think that there’s always people who are going to see that industry change isn’t going to affect me, right? When you’re going from ledger paper to accounting systems, like 30 or 40 years ago, “No, I prefer my ledger paper,” or “You can’t make me use a calculator,” right? It’s just kind of like —

    John: Right. “I’m an abacus kind of guy.” Totally.

    Rachel: Yeah. At some point, this is actually something that you’re going to need to learn. So those who see it and recognize that and adopt it and kind of go all in earlier will actually get the leg up a little bit.

    John: Right. When it comes to employee engagement, I mean it talks about how basically HR teams, if they do these surveys, if they ask for feedback digitally, then actually take the time to do the human side of it. When it comes to technology, when it comes to AI, it’s a tool. It’s a tool to not replace your job. It’s a tool to make you better at your job. So your job is actually not the adding up a green bar piece of paper and double checking it and all of that. It’s taking and tying all that. It’s actually the human side of taking that data and explaining it and sitting down with a client or sitting down with a colleague and going over it that way. HR leaders that read through the comments and then meet with their employees, those employees feel more valued, and they feel more engaged. They actually know that their ideas are being used to make the workplace a better place to be.

    Rachel: For sure. Of course, with all the positivity that AI brings and all of the jobs, because it talks about AI bringing more jobs and it’s going to be wiping out or whatever, it does talk about the challenges. I’m glad that we talk about this because sometimes it feels like we’re all about the rainbows and unicorns and not so much about the, okay, but what does this actually mean? So it talks about some of those challenges, including, like, for example, automated note taking might mean employees are going to overlook writing down something that’s important if that’s kind of how they learn or how they stick something in their brain because they have this other test that’s going to do it. When it comes to pre-screen surveys and stuff like that, is it possible for your data to actually have a bias which could affect your hiring?

    So there are some really interesting things about some of the challenges of AI and certainly as it’s not widely adopted at this point. But, yeah, something to keep in mind for sure.

    John: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I’m just most curious to find out if AI cooks turkeys like on their own and carves them. That’s the hardest part is carving it.

    Rachel: For me, it’s the stuffing, to get that right recipe and the tinkering that you do to get that. I don’t know. I mean, I think AI can cook a turkey. I don’t know if AI can make amazing stuff.

    John: See, that’s the parallel that we all need to take away from this on Canadian Thanksgiving is sure, the computers can cook the turkey, but I’m good at the stuffing.

    Rachel: I am the master of the stuffing.

    John: That’s where it’s at. So with that, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and all the Canadian listeners as well and all the Americans that just want to eat turkey. I mean, now you have a reason.

    Rachel: They do now do it.

    John: So do it. Check us out online at greenapplepodcast.com. There’s a link to the article that we we’re just talking about as well as don’t forget to hit Subscribe so you get all the episodes that we do every Monday and then every Wednesdays the interviews with different people that have passions and interests that are all over the board. So it’s really cool. So have a great Thanksgiving, Rachel, and a great rest of the week.

    Rachel: Thanks. You too, John.

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