Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic since OpenAI publicly launched Chat GPT in late 2022. It has been used for many years but recently is developing at a rapid pace, to the point that tech experts are warning of the “societal-scale risks”. However, the risks also come with opportunities. There are many uses of AI in remote work especially. They make tasks more efficient, streamline processes, and enable people to make better decisions.
In remote work there are a range of applications and a growing number of apps and AI-powered services to help make things easier.
There are many well-known project management (PM) tools on the market that individuals and teams can use to plan, track, and deliver work on time.
They are particularly useful in remote scenarios as they allow workers to collaborate and visualise what stage a project is at. They can help you stay organised, adjust work flows, allocate and prioritise. When you’re part of a dispersed team, PM tools can detail who is doing what, store and let you share files and notes so everyone has access.
Platforms such as Asana, Trello, Clickup and Monday are some of the more common tools and they are starting to integrate AI.
AI-powered PM tools can help teams prioritise and allocate tasks using machine learning algorithms. AI software such as Motion and Wrike’s Work Intelligence can replace to-do lists, different calendars, scheduling and booking tools and can build a timetable for you. It reduces the need for time-consuming manual updating and data analysis to make decisions.
The benefits of using AI in this way not only save time but can prevent you over booking yourself and ensure you schedule deep work periods, improving productivity.
Uses of AI in cybersecurity
Cyber attacks are a growing threat. In a remote setting, the security of confidential data is something that could be compromised.
With criminals using AI to launch cyber attacks, it can equally be used to prevent threats from things such as email phishing scams and ransomware.
AI can analyse huge amounts of data, speeding up response times to any possible cyber threats. It can automate manual repetitive tasks often done by humans to help predict, detect and respond to a threat.
Most people have probably used AI to translate basic sentences, perhaps when travelling abroad. You may well have asked Google to help you ask: ‘How much is that?’ or ‘Where is the bank?’
When working from home, an AI-powered translation tool can prove helpful, especially if you are looking to expand your services to a global audience.
As a free option, Google Translate is one of the tools that has added AI to improve contextual translation.
DeepL translator is another excellent free service which can also offer different results to choose from so you can select the most appropriate translation.
Amazon, Systran, memoq and Translation AI from Google Cloud all offer paid services with extra provision such as APIs for larger organisations.
Dictation tools are commonplace and often use AI for speech recognition to convert voice to text. If you are working for yourself or in a role where you have lots of notes to write up, they can save you huge amounts of time.
Platforms such as Dragon and Otter.ai can transcribe voice meeting notes, transcribe in real time and even provide summaries. Apple dictation is a free simple tool for Mac users. Google voice typing is a dictation tool for Google docs. There are lots of options on the market and there are even AI tools that offer the reverse functionality by providing voiceover to your text.
An AI-powered virtual assistant might be one of the most common uses of AI in remote work. As you can see from the above, there is not much that AI can’t do. It can perform tasks that many virtual assistants would do on a daily basis such as project management, keeping you organised, typing your voice or meeting notes or helping with your scheduling.
Chat bots can also replace a human VA to take calls and deal with common queries and support tickets. Natural language smart assistants can follow voice and text commands using NLP such as Siri and Alexa. Cortana is Microsoft’s answer and there is also Google Assistant. Some all in one AI-powered VAs include large language models such as Live Person.
One very practical use of AI in remote work will be particularly helpful if you are self-employed or accumulate a lot of business expenses. Tools such as Fyle.ai can track and file expense reports, another time-consuming task.
Of course, what you go for will depend on your individual needs, what level of customisation or integration you require – and your budget!
Facilitation and meetings
The uses of AI in remote work come into their own with facilitations and meetings.
Many of us will be communicating online, attending virtual events and needing to brainstorm with people spread across the country, or even globe.
From designing visually engaging presentations, to sorting groups, creating mind maps and sticky notes, there are a raft of tools now at our disposal.
MiroAI has integrated machine learning into its boards to aid creativity and collaboration. Chat GPT can be used to get ideas flowing on topics, and OpenAI’s other tool, DALLE-2 can generate visuals from text descriptions.
Transcription tools noted above are also part of the solution for sharing notes and summaries of different talking points. Sembly is another AI tool, designed specifically for meetings, that can analyse the meeting data and highlight key points and insights.
For business owners and those wishing to engage people via the podcast medium, there are AI platforms out there which can help you record, edit, make notes and even duplicate your voice!
One of the tools offered by Descript allows you to edit your audio by editing the transcription. It means you can eliminate many filler words – the ums and ers that frequently occur.
Podcastle is an all-in one AI-powered tool that allows you to record, edit and export your podcast. It claims to give you studio-quality recording and can even make a digital copy of your voice.
Want to go behind the scenes of some of the UK’s top-ranking podcasts
Read the interview with Dino Sofos, the brains behind some of the BBC’s biggest podcasts, Global Player’s The News Agents and Dua Lipa, At Your Service. Learn how to create engaging, impactful audio content.
What about the humans?
With all this tech available, should we be worried about AI taking over our jobs?
There is undoubtedly many areas where AI can replace human effort. But humans still have the creativity, nuance, curiosity, context, and emotional empathy to tweak what AI can do at a base level. This highlights the importance of developing more emotional and interpersonal skills which will become increasingly valued in a world dominated by automation and tech.
For instance, human VAs often provide a business advisory and sounding board role. They tend to have a deep knowledge of you, your story and your business to help make suggestions that might involve more than just analysing data about you.
In translation, having a human fluent in that language is always going to help when it comes to particular nuanced phrases or ambiguous meanings. They can help with subtleties, knowledge of target markets, and correct errors that an AI tool will make.
Use AI to complement your work, and support you where it can. However, while it may pose a threat to some roles in the future, people still like the personal touch. The ability to speak to a person who can truly empathise, relate, and be much more than a robot will always be valuable.
Inside issue 18 of The Homeworker magazine: Read the feature with interviews and comments from AI experts.
- What is AI and how does it work?
- How AI will impact the future of work.
- The dangers involved and what to be aware of now and in the future.
About the author
Louise is an award-winning journalist and speaker who focuses on working from home, remote work and wellbeing. She is the founder of The Homeworker, which is dedicated to helping you thrive when you work from home. The Homeworker publishes articles that are designed to keep you healthy, happy, fulfilled, and more productive in work and life.