Artificial intelligence at work

Interview with Nir Eyal: Workplace productivity, motivation and Artificial Intelligence

Sophia Ellis
Sep 22, 2017

We Spoke with Best-Selling Author Nir Eyal on Workplace Productivity, Motivation and Artificial Intelligence:

We’ve been working on improving Hibox to be the ultimate digital workplace this year. We’ve been focusing our research and brainstorming on the future of collaboration, AI, and productivity in the workplace. This post is the first in a series in which we’ll be speaking to some of our favorite experts and get their thoughts on these topics. We’d love to share them with you here.

This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with best-selling offer of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, Nir Eyal, to get his thoughts on employee productivity, motivation, and AI’s role in the future of work. Nir frequently shares helpful tips and insights on distraction, deep work, and improving customer engagement on Medium and his own site.

At Hibox, as you’re likely to gather from our blog, we’re a little obsessed with the crossroads between workplace tech and productivity. We’re actively at work bridging the two for companies of all sizes.

Nir shared with me great insight on how companies need to look at implementing tech into the workplace to make tech actually promote productivity and avoid the downside of distraction. There’s a massive amount of business tech products entering the market at a seemingly exponential rate. Nir says the key to guaranteeing productivity when introducing new tech to the workplace for any company is knowing when to and when not to use it.

“The easy answer is “Turn off the technology”, and it turns out, that’s terrible advice because people don’t follow it… That’s not realistic. The answer is not to stop it all together, the answer is get to the root of the problem. Technology is a tool and tools can be applied to do productive things, they can also be applied incorrectly to do harmful things.”

Nir suggests companies who want to be realistic about tech and productivity should focus implementing on a small number of practical tools and experimenting with what works for their process instead of just arbitrarily throwing new tech into the mix or giving up on potentially game-changing tools.

To all of our curiosity, I asked Nir what his thoughts on the long and short-term results and work of Artificial Intelligence to employee productivity might be.

Nir sees a huge opportunity for employees who are knowledge workers to thrive with the freedom from menial tasks AI promises. Tools like’s “Amy” scheduling bot (which we scheduled this call with)and Apollo’s summarizing tool will take some of the most time-consuming parts of knowledge workers jobs and outsource them for little to nothing. So what’s holding companies back from embracing tech and skyrocketing productivity?

To explain, Nir suggested something really interesting: we’ve been here before. He brought up a great historical example I loved. Between the time that the combustion engine was invented prior to the industrial revolution, there was about a 50 year lag in productivity before the production line. Why? It took 50 years for us to figure out how to configure these technologies could work together to get that massive increase in productivity.

“In the last two decades we’ve had an explosion of technologies that are connecting people together, but what we haven’t had yet is the production line. We haven’t had the methodologies for how to use these technologies in a way that increases productivity.”

Artificial intelligence at work and for the future of work

On a much shorter timeline, we could experience the same thing with work tech tools and Artificial Intelligence.

It may take time for companies to figure out how to find the right roles for these technologies in processes and exploit their true potential.

At Hibox, we’re working to solve this hurdle in business tech application. We are already testing tons of other new AI features like automatically scheduling meetings, employee sentiment analysis and predictive messaging directly within Hibox’s team collaboration platform. We’ll be rolling out as soon as possible to help get the workplace a little closer to what the “production line” era we discussed with Nir! Stay tuned.

For a complete digital workspace with team chat, tasks, and video calling plus productivity-boosting AI, try Hibox free today.

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