Will artificial intelligence transform the world of work? In short, yes. According to McKinsey, around a fifth of current jobs, globally, will be replaced by automation and artificially intelligent technologies.
But millions of new jobs will emerge too. Gartner expects AI will create 500,000 more jobs than it eliminates by 2020. And Professor Costas Markides believes this disruption will provide opportunities to re-skill, learn new competencies, and enjoy better jobs. All of which means big change for HR professionals.
We can expect hiring practices to shift dramatically, from a focus on specific roles and particular skills to general competencies. And this will affect training, which will need to be more frequent and personalized to accommodate the pace of change and diversifying roles.
In fact, the growing adoption of AI and Machine Learning (ML) generally may drive further use in the HR team specifically. Career pathing, performance reviews, and retention could all be improved by automatically integrating and analyzing different datasets, leaving HR professionals to devote more personal attention to employees and their career progression or providing the best guidance for their development.
But leaders must also be cautious. While the automation of AI or ML can bring speed and scale (to recruitment, for example) it can also ingrain biases from historical data if used and interpreted wrongly. A previous tendency towards CVs from Oxbridge graduates could become a built-in preference unless there is sufficient understanding of the algorithms and assumptions.
David D’Souza, from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, talks about the ‘ethics of automation’, and asks an interesting question. Will businesses use automation to improve lives, or just improve profits?
To my mind, businesses can do both. Freeing workers from repetitive tasks allows them to spend their time and energy on more challenging and value-adding, work. This then feeds into a virtuous cycle of greater job satisfaction, performance, and progression, all helping to support the performance of the business.
But the understanding and adoption of AI is still evolving, as we found when surveying HR leaders and employees in the US, with Future Workplace. Read our full report to learn what we discovered, and what it could mean.