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Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe to Executive Assistants?

05 Jun 2023 |

By Sophia Voce


Artificial intelligence (or AI) is a term most of us are likely to be familiar with these days. Unless you’ve spent the last few months camped out on a remote Pacific island without any WiFi (we wish!), you will also know that AI has been making headline news on an almost daily basis recently.

​This news has, at times, been fairly alarming, with concerns raised that AI poses the same threat as nuclear wars and pandemics. Just to alarm us all a little further, these concerns are being made by some of the world’s most distinguished experts in AI. Source: The Times

OK… so what should we do with this information exactly? Do we start to panic (and show the robots signs of weakness)? Or do we accept that AI is here to stay and learn how to both embrace and respect it, whilst using it to our advantage?

First things first. What is artificial intelligence?

According to Britannica, AI is defined as:

The ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.

There are now countless AI tools in existence, such as Alexa and ChatGPT, designed to enhance both our personal and working lives. We use a multitude of these tools during our daily lives without even realising! Other examples include FaceID on iPhones, recommendation algorithms on Netflix and Uber.

Could artificial intelligence steal my job?

So hang on, if these ‘robots’ are able to ‘perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings’, does that mean I am at risk of losing my job?

In short, no… but with a caveat.

What the rise of AI does mean is that we need to be smart and stay one step ahead, by continually building up our knowledge and understanding. Designating certain (often repetitive) tasks to AI can allow you to dramatically improve productivity. With AI on your side, you can find ways to be more efficient and increase your value.

Let’s delve deeper into what this means for Executive Assistants

There is an interesting article written by The Global Assistant on LinkedIn which includes a few tips on how to enhance your EA skills. We’ve shared these tips below:

1. Time Management and Prioritisation

Utilising AI-powered tools can dramatically improve your time management and prioritisation skills, both essential components of executive support roles. AI-driven calendar apps, for example, can take numerous factors into account when scheduling meetings, such as participants' preferences, meeting deadlines, and travel time considerations. This not only saves time, but also ensures you prioritise assignments effectively and minimise conflicts.

2. Automation and Streamlining Workflow

AI can also automate repetitive tasks and help you focus on more critical and strategic aspects of your role. Tools like robotic process automation (RPA) can handle data entry, appointment scheduling, email management, and other monotonous tasks, greatly improving your productivity. Additionally, AI has made strides in natural language processing, allowing software to understand and handle incoming requests or instructions, further streamlining your workflow.

3. Enhancing Communication and Collaboration

AI-powered communication tools are changing the way we interact with colleagues and how we share information with one another. These programs can analyse text and use sentiment analysis to detect and prioritise urgent or high-priority messages, thus ensuring their timely response. Collaboration tools, such as chatbots, can also provide quick answers to routine inquiries from various team members or even translate messages for global teams – thereby improving collaboration and efficiency.

4. Personalised Learning and Professional Development

AI can assist executive support professionals in identifying and closing skill gaps by providing personalised learning experiences. AI-driven platforms can analyse your performance and recommend customised learning paths, ensuring continued growth and development. This not only makes you a more effective assistant, but also prepares you for an ever-changing work environment as technology evolves.

5. Analysing and Leveraging Data

As an administrative professional, your role often requires you to gather, analyse, and present data to assist decision-making processes. With AI-powered tools, data analysis and visualisation become more efficient and insightful. AI can analyse large volumes of data in real-time and provide complex insights, empowering you to make better-informed decisions and showcase the value you bring to your organisation.

In conclusion…

With the right approach and an open mind, AI can have a positive impact on our job performance as individuals. Although for some this can be a daunting prospect, the reality is that AI is becoming more prevalent in the workplace and it is vital to embrace it and not fall behind.

There are some really great articles in circulation, with advice, tips and app recommendations to keep you in the know. Check out the links below if you’d like to read on:

Workplace AI: How artificial intelligence will transform the workday - BBC Worklife

How to Embrace Artificial Intelligence as an Executive Assistant - Executive Leadership Support (teamels.com)

How to Use AI as an Executive Assistant — WORXBEE | Virtual Administrative Solutions for Founders, CEOs and Executives

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