HR Director Aburi Composites
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The AI Challenge Managers Face

27th Apr 2018
HR Director Aburi Composites
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It’s now indisputable that artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions will be an essential facet of the 21st century economy, but many HR managers are still scrambling to catch up and brief themselves on the true capacities of these emerging technologies. Very worryingly, the AI challenge today’s managers seem to be facing appears to be growing in scope, rather than shrinking, and it’s not quite clear that contemporary HR departments have what it takes to deal with the forthcoming changes to how we leverage intelligent machines.

Here’s a specific breakdown of the AI challenge managers are facing right now, and what they can do to ensure their department doesn’t become obsolete in the era of machine learning.

The AI revolution is already here

Some managers still have their heads in the sand, and are refusing to acknowledge the truth that’s confronting them; we’ve indisputably entered the age of artificial intelligence, and if anything, early estimates about how it would reshape our societies weren’t drastic enough. The U.K. just unveiled that it’s investing some £1 billion into AI initiatives, and spending in machine learning programs is only like to continue to grow as more and more companies realize the potential behind these intelligent algorithms. Thus, managers should get it through their skulls that there’s no hiding from the forthcoming AI wave – it has to be dealt with head-on.

While most are concerned about things such as job loss stemming from the widespread automating of many of today’s jobs, most HR managers are more concerned about the ethical dilemmas that AI generate. For instance, machine learning solutions require tremendous amounts of data to operate effectively, which often means data-gathering methods are expanded tenfold by companies and governments alike. This has some frightening privacy connotations; what kind of data is your company collecting on its employees, and how is that data being used? Is it even secure?

We’ve already seen that there’s a tremendous concern about cybersecurity in the contemporary age, especially as it pertains to whether or not individual’s data is secure, but managers are soon going to be inundated with request from fearful employees who are worried that their company is surveilling them, in and out of the office. Recent revelations that such companies as Facebook have been harvesting people’s data en masse for their algorithm-driven business model will only exacerbate contemporary fears, so managers will want to work with their IT teams to ensure they’re up to date on the company’s data and privacy standards.

Managers also have a responsibility to confront bias and prejudice in the workplace, and it’s been well established that artificial intelligence networks and business solutions have biases “baked in” when they’re created by human coders, who themselves harbor prejudices. While some have nurtured hopes that AI can help eliminate bias in such things as bringing on new employees, because these algorithms can objectively determine who’s best suited for the position, it’s an unpleasant matter of fact that racism, sexism, and other HR-terrors will be a fundamental part of the AI era.

Keeping humans in the workplace

In order to meet the immense challenges artificial intelligence’s development seems to be generating, managers and HR officials should be constantly striving to keep humans in the workplace. While it will be tempting for many companies to automate as many positions as possible to cut cost, it’s a simple matter of fact that human eyes and ears are needed to ensure that things are being operated fairly, as algorithmic biases could spin out of control if no one is there in-person to check them. Similarly, customers in the future will favor companies that blend the best elements of cutting-edge robotics and skilled human capital, so HR managers will want to lobby hard to maintain the integrity and wellbeing of their human labor force for their own good, too.

Emotions in the workplace are about to become vastly more complicated, too, and HR officials will need to step in as it pertains to managing the emotional employees who will be dealing with completely emotion-free machines. Your workers will doubtlessly encounter new and unfamiliar sources of stress by working extensively with intelligent machines and programs, so HR should take active steps now to ensure that employees have emotional therapy available to them when it comes to dealing with an increasingly automated workplace.

Above all else, HR departments will want to retain flexibility and a commitment to their flesh and blood employees, who will continue to drive the company forward for decades to come. The AI challenges we’re facing currently seem immense, and will take serious investments of capital, time, and effort to deal with, but the alternative to overcoming these solutions is unthinkable. The age of AI is dawning, and HR departments need to lead the way when it comes to human-machine ethics if they don’t want to get left behind.

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