How Robots Are Making Our Lives Better
Technology is improving work lives and impacting HR. Here’s how.
Recent research by Accenture, Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, found that future-focused enterprises are rethinking how their workforce interacts with artificial intelligence (AI). 39% of future-focused organisations are transforming the human-machine relationship in one of four ways: enlisting the C-Suite to remake the culture with AI; helping employees keep pace [with machines]; emphasising distinctively human capabilities while hiring; and making sure that algorithm decisions are fair, safe, and auditable. So, how can companies bridge the gap between human and machine?
Plugging the ‘missing middle.’
Businesses that can harness AI will come out ahead of the rest. Authors of Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, Paul R. Daugherty and H.J. Wilson explain that organisations need to develop ‘interactions’ between humans and machines. Humans and machines can work together and play to their strengths, and this will best benefit business.
Humans and machines can even share a symbiotic relationship:
A study by the Pew Research Center found of the ten countries surveyed; a large majority agreed that automation would "definitely" or "probably" lead to significant job losses. However, findings from a global study by Willis Towers Watson involving 900 HR executives across 38 countries found that these executives only see a 6% reduction in full-time employment over the next three years.
According to a recent article, “AI, robotics, and automation: Put humans in the loop,” published by Deloitte Insights, humans are more important than ever.
“The need for human involvement complicates the widely held view that AI will automate everything. If anything, humans and their innate skills seem to be growing more important as the need to devise, implement, and validate AI solutions becomes widespread.
Understanding the unique capabilities that machines and humans bring to different types of work and tasks will be critical as the focus moves from automation to the redesign of work,” state article authors Dimple Agarwal, Josh Bersin, Gaurav Lahiri, Jeff Schwartz, and Erica Volini. If anything, machines are improving our lives and augmenting our capabilities.
Five innovations that are impacting HR and improving our work lives
Augmented Reality training
Companies are using virtual reality (VR) to train staff. UPS has begun using simulations to train delivery drivers. Other examples are in the service industry with Walmart and KFC using VR to train staff.
In 2015, the Dubai Police won the Asian Human Capital Award for the simulations they created to train police officers. In an article for Forbes, “How VR Saves Lives in the OR,” author Charlie Fink shares that augmented reality (AR) and VR can be used for training in high-risk professions like police officers and surgeons.
Engaging learning and development
Technology can be used to improve and tailor training for employees. In an article for Inc., “The Role of AI in Learning and Development,” the authors explain that AI can make recommendations based on data. “Gone are the days of one size fits all. AI will provide insights based on the enormous amount of data it has collected and analysed, which will facilitate the creation of customised learning programmes--faster than before. Access to these insights and data will allow us to develop a better understanding of learner behaviours and to predict needs by recommending and positioning content based on past behaviour.”
Simplifying HR resources
Organisations have been implementing integrated HR apps and chatbots to relieve HR professionals from handling repetitive administrative tasks and allows HR team to have more time to focus on strategic initiatives and higher level enquiries. An example is local bank OCBC’s HR in your Pocket app, described as a one-stop resource for employees; the app includes information for personnel as well as an AI-powered chatbot, Buddy, which can answer personalised questions such as an individual employee’s remaining leave.
Streamlining recruiting processes
AI or machine learning products can help recruiters identify relevant candidates for a potential job. Automated AI sourcing can be used to find suitable candidates, reach out to candidates to gauge their interest in an interview, and even analyse which candidates would be the best fit for the position. These programmes are also able to identify potential blind spots such as training gaps, allowing companies to plan for the candidate to learn and grow in the positon.
DBS launched their virtual recruiter, Jim, in June 2018, automating the pre-screening process, and saving DBS some 40 manhours a month. This enables recruiters to spend more time on high-value work such as sourcing for candidates, interviewing applicants, focus on talent advisory or even upskilling themselves. With Jim, applicants also benefit from a faster, more streamlined process, with real-time interaction available 24/7.
While many employees fear the loss of jobs over technological advances, these examples show that AI does improve our work lives. When humans and machines work together, they can create more value and a set of checks & balances. And as the world of work changes on ever-increasing time cycles, companies that adapt AI will be able to remain strategically competitive.