21 June 2023
Generative AI is dramatically impacting how we work, learn and create. Despite provocative headlines in leading global publications sensationalising its potential to wipe out humanity, organisations that consider the implications for people when deciding how to use generative AI can maximise its business impact and avoid potential pitfalls. In short, humans plus AI deliver real advantages.
We recently facilitated a live discussion on LinkedIn with industry-leading panellists to explore the real impact that AI is having on work and our skills and capabilities, and the opportunities and risks.
- Katarina Berg, Chief Human Resources Officer, Spotify
- Ravin Jesuthasan, Global Transformation Services Leader, Mercer
- Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Chief Innovation Officer, Manpower Group and Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and Columbia University
- Lewis Garrad, Partner, Mercer (moderator)
Katarina Berg:We are in an "AI phase" where most people are only just learning how it can help us or how we can work with it to improve what we do. It's also a bit scary in my field as we assess if there will be a lot of redundancies. The flip side is that it can also help to improve the quality of people's decisions and skills discovery/skills building while providing for the democratisation of learning access. This new era, or the next phase of AI, will give us skills discovery in a much more innovative way. For instance, at Spotify, we already use AI in our people strategy for our internal talent marketplace and to automate routine HR tasks. We are removing the redundancy of repetitive work and increasing the emphasis on work that requires empathy, critical thinking, or the human touch. People with soft skills will rule the opportunities in the next decade.
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic:I'm particularly excited to explore if AI can help us to de-bias organisations and improve diversity and inclusion at work by making it more meritocratic. I'm also excited to see how AI can help humanise work so that people thrive in ways that bring out their smarts and creativity while boosting productivity. Narrow aspects of the skills constellation are changing due to the rapid rise of generative AI. Attaining deep expertise in a narrow field requires one to act wisely on generative AI input and determine if we know more than what it produces. Soft skills, such as empathy, creativity, curiosity, kindness, self-criticism, and emotional intelligence, will continue to be valued by employers. These skills will be the best way to future-proof us. We may lose the IQ battle to AI, but the AEQ battle will win as the human advantage.
Ravin Jesuthasan:The most significant impact of generative AI over the past year has been the democratisation of knowledge and, to a lesser extent, creativity. As I outlined in a recent article for the World Economic Forum, it's essential to identify where AI can be helpful (versus not) and its specific role. It can be compelling when augmenting work with a relatively low-risk threshold, enabling people to be more productive and creative. I suggest readers view the complete panel discussion recording for some pretty powerful examples of the productivity gains possible through generative AI. It won't replace critical human decision-making but it has the potential to will democratise access to work and reduce inequality.
Lewis Garrad:One of the other fascinating areas where AI plays out at work is improving the quality of people discovering themselves. Many technologies can help with skills discovery, allowing people to identify what skills and capabilities they have built and how these can accurately match to work in a completely new way. AI gives us new tools to help with skills discovery that democratises access to work because it can help find other work opportunities in the organisation that might be a better fit and are broader than, say, a one-on-one conversation you might have with your manager.
Collectively, the panellists agreed:
- That intelligent machines will not replace humans.
- AI presents opportunities to breed greater human creativity.
- AI will not replace human leaders and managers, but it might help to redefine what a manager/supervisor does.