Why the Luddites are wrong – and how AI will make global mobility more human

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On 9th October 1779, production at a lace factory in the English Midlands abruptly stopped when workers rioted. Their reason? As skilled lace workers, who had spent many years honing their craft, they perceived the arrival of new lace-making machinery as both an insult and a threat to their livelihoods. The Luddite Rebellion had started.

Almost 250 years later, with the arrival of advanced artificial intelligence, many of us can sympathise with them. AI will doubtless impact many parts of the global mobility industry. But is the world really being taken over by faceless robots? Will the human side of global mobility be eclipsed by ruthlessly efficient software algorithms? Despite the scaremongering, there are many reasons to believe that AI will actually enhance the human dimension of global mobility. It has always been about people helping other people to move; here’s why the experience of those people is likely to be improved, not degraded, by the arrival of AI.


1. People can have things how they want them

With AI's data-analyzing capabilities, companies can now offer hyper-personalized services tailored to individual needs. Consider an assignee’s housing and schooling needs, for example – and the anxiety that goes with them. With the ability to sift through vast amounts of data, AI can match an individual's preferences with the best possible local options. Customers receiving such personalised advice feel truly understood and valued, while the reputation of the organisations that serve them in this way will improve as a result.


2. Giving people time to help people

As we have been told many times, AI takes care of repetitive and mundane tasks – which is great since most of us don’t enjoy that part of the job. In the context of the global mobility industry, this could mean AI handles the admin associated with visa application processes, cross-border payment systems, expense tracking and other such drudgery. That leaves human agents with more time to focus on the tasks that they – and their customers – find more fulfilling. Building genuine relationships, offering emotional support, addressing unusual problems that only an experienced human can handle. You’ve worked hard to build your expertise – AI gives you more time to use it. Which of course means that your assignees in turn feel more at ease and better supported.


3. Removing problems before they arise

AI, with its predictive analysis capabilities, can foresee challenges or needs even before a customer articulates them. Whether it's a potential delay in clearing customs or a cultural adaptation issue, AI can prompt human agents to provide proactive assistance. This proactive approach ensures that issues are addressed before they escalate – improving the service offered by moving companies for example, and easing the transition for individual assignees.


4. Your very own personal interpreter

One of the most revolutionary aspects of AI is real-time language translation. While many assignees may relish the opportunity to learn a new language, communication can be a big problem. On an everyday level, life is more difficult if you don’t understand the local language, but the very human feelings of loneliness can be exacerbated when you are surrounded by an unfamiliar language. AI-powered translation tools, such as DeepL, are advancing fast and provide fast, accurate translations wherever you need. The human benefit is that people are no longer separated by the language barrier; the assignee is able to experience more fully the culture that surrounds them in their new host country.


The robots are friendlier than you might think

The modern-day Luddites will not be convinced by this of course. But by improving quality of service and efficiency of operation, AI is removing problems that may previously have diminished the human experience. It may seem counter-intuitive, but AI is likely to enhance the human dimension of global mobility.

In addition, as AI is adopted by every organisation in the global mobility supply chain, it will cease to be a competitive advantage. The companies that succeed will be the ones who use it best – to improve the quality of service that customers really want, and to deliver it in a personable, friendly and human way.


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