Can AI save us from bad meetings?
Vocabulary: business meetings
Business meetings are, arguably, a necessary part of any organisation where people work collectively to accomplish a goal. But badly managed, meetings can be unproductive, boring and feel like a complete waste of time. In a recent survey conducted by governance technology firm eShare, it was found that the average UK employee spends over 10 hours weekly preparing for and attending meetings – approximately 50% of which they consider unnecessary. However, there are theories that technology could improve things.
It's "very feasible" for an AI to be able to recognise when one person is hijacking a meeting, or if a circular discussion keeps returning to a single issue, says James Campanini, from videoconferencing company, BlueJeans. "If no new points are made after a while, the AI could suggest to wrap up," says Cynthia Rudin, a computer science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But AI isn’t quite there yet.
"If AI can do most of the mundane and drudgery work during business meetings, that leaves more space for humans to think about strategy and vision," believes Niki Iliadis at the Big Innovation centre, London, an innovation hub in AI. This seems to be true. The prefecture of Osaka in Japan started using an AI as a minute taker to transcribe and summarise the 450 annual cabinet meetings. It has halved the time needed to produce summaries and cut staff overtime, claims the prefecture.
AI can also help with the matter of attendance. If a meeting with irrelevant subject matter is called, or if it's an an inconvenient time, an AI could be used to decide who should attend the meeting and when it should be, says Elise Keith from Lucid Meetings, a US-based meeting management platform.
Finally, one Stockholm start-up, Mentimeter, allows meeting attendees to give anonymous feedback about a discussion. Using the software, participants can make open-ended responses, submit comments or vote in multiple-choice quizzes. This has "fundamentally changed the dynamics of a presentation," says Austin Broad from financial services firm AFH Wealth Management.
While tools that can create agendas, send meeting invitations, distribute the minutes, and keep track of action items should improve effectiveness, they are still in development. Let's hope that if or when they do arrive, they will meet our expectations.
a complete waste of time 完全浪费时间
wrap up 结束，画上句号
minute taker 会议记录员
meeting invitation 会议邀请
the minutes 会议记录
action item 行动方案
1. How much time does the average UK employee spend preparing for and attending meetings?
2. True or false: UK employees believe that all meetings are unnecessary.
3. If AI can do the mundane work, what will it allow more space for humans to do?
4. How much of a difference has an AI made to the prefecture of Osaka?
5. What three things does the Mentimeter software allow participants to do?
1. John's very loud and direct, so he tends to ______ meetings. Keep an eye on him.
C.action item D.vision
2. OK everyone, if there's no AOB then we should ______ this meeting. Thanks.
C.wrap up D.agenda
3. We had a meeting this morning with no outcome. It was so ______.
4. I will act as chairperson and Mr Johnson will be ______. Item 1 on the agenda is…
A.a complete waste of time B.videoconference
5. We have two good ideas so let's put it to a ______. All those in favour of idea 1?
C.action item D. vision