Talent Analytics

Embracing Fear and Opportunity: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Human Resources

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Fear and opportunity are typically on the same spectrum, with calculated risk somewhere in between. In the latest episode of  Trends in Talent Management Podcast series, we met with Ben Eubanks, Principal Analyst of Lighthouse Research and co-founder of HRevolution Movement, to discuss the impact of artificial intelligence on human resources (HR).

Artificial or augmented intelligence (AI) isn’t your standard computing machine that’s set to follow defined programming rules, but rather a system that can understand, reason, learn, and respond based on evaluating large amounts of data.

In many professions, including HR, there’s an inherent fear of job replacement by AI. While AI will continue to automate certain routine jobs, Eubanks explains that AI “is not an EITHER or OR – it’s an AND solution.” In fact in the podcast Eubanks talks about the need for a blended partnership, not an “us vs. them” thought process. The importance of the human element remains. HR is going to have to continue to focus on the employee experience – and how an organization treats its employees throughout the entire lifecycle, allowing AI to assist with the more laborious tasks.

At the other end of the spectrum, beyond fear, there’s opportunity. In the podcast, Eubanks talks about blending the people approach with tasks AI can do, so that you can get the best of both worlds. Considering the opportunity to embrace AI, many organizations are faced with a few key questions: “How do I apply it and make it work?” and “How do I translate into a way that positively impacts work?” Eubanks refers to the need for case studies so companies can  easily identify potential impacts and understand how it could change their branding, training, and hiring practices.

As HR professionals, there are many skills you can continue to enhance, to function in tandem with AI. They include:

  • Creativity – There’s no replacement for human creativity.
  • A unique perspective – No one else has lived in your shoes and no one has your identical perspective.
  • Ability to influence opinions.
  • Ability to understand emotions of others.
  • Subject matter expertise in a specific field – There are nuances to every situation that require human understanding.

Ability to handle a poorly defined problem – Some problems are not clear-cut and require human intervention.

There are many things about being human that a computer will not replace. AI can help us become better, faster, and stronger – and can create more time, opportunities, and ways for us to grow and develop. Yet, we need to be able to move from fear to embrace the opportunity that AI presents.

Listen to the podcast and visit ibm.com/Watson/talent to learn how Watson Talent is helping expand human expertise and empowering HR professionals to improve and speed people’s impact on business.

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