In this article we review an interesting piece called Could AI solve the productivity crisis, by Steve Weston, Chief Information Officer and Global Head of Corporate Accounts at Hays Group.

“PwC analysis suggests that AI could contribute US$15.7trillion to the global economy by 2030, with US $6.6trillion of this figure of this coming from increased productivity. These gains are expected to come from the automation of processes, coupled with AI technologies augmenting their existing labour force. In fact, there are already examples of where AI is starting to have this sort of impact. Owen Tebbutt, Marketing Leader, Cognitive Process Transformation, for IBM Global Business Services, Europe, gives the example of AI being used by fund managers to track media or social media stories about particular companies, helping them to digest the vast number of stories on the internet to glean important information which could create fluctuations in share prices.

“Twenty years ago, these people received data about the marketplace they serve at a much slower rate and in far fewer formats,” he points out. “AI is a good way to empower someone who is doing that sort of job, and it can help them to prioritise, sort and make sense of a huge wall of data that is coming at them all the time, relentlessly.” There’s still a need for human intervention, however, particularly in how AI interprets headlines or other elements of stories which could have more than one meaning.”

With new innovations comes uncertainty and often fear. This can manifest in fear of the unknown and the potential impact on self and teams. It is crucial when considering whether AI might add value to your organisation, that you think about the potential impact and clear and ongoing communication of the transformation journey, through the eyes of all stakeholders.

HR will clearly have an important role in helping businesses to make use of AI and ensure it is used responsibly. Part of this will involve talking about the rationale behind it, and explaining how it can help individuals with the job, and potentially develop their career through learning new skills. “One thing is clarity; the more open an organisation can be about why and where it’s using these technologies, the less concerned employees will be,” says Tebbutt. “The really big one is that it’s got to be based around this idea of empowerment. It’s not there to replace jobs but to make your job more impactful, enjoyable and productive. HR needs to be very positive about some of the things this technology can do to make people more productive, happy and fulfilled.”

Of course, the best results will come from enabling efficiency, effective improvements in process and systems and in an ideal world, seamless integration with the business rather than a clumsy and unsettling bolt-on to legacy operations.

A global survey of nearly 3,000 employees across eight nations conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos found that four out of five employees see significant opportunity for AI to create a more engaging and empowering workplace experience, yet admit a lack of transparency from their employers is a primary driver of fear and concern.

So the message from this thought provoking article is clear. Embark on the journey of AI exploration with transparency and engagement across the business. It is likely that this will result not only in acceptance but valuable contribution to the execution of AI roll-out.

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