One-third of UK workers want robots to replace bosses

According to a new report, which surveyed more than 1,000 professionals in the United Kingdom, one-third (34 percent) of employees believe a robot would be better at decision-making than their current boss. However, that does not necessarily mean that leaders are likely to be replaced by robots anytime soon. “Robots are unlikely to take on the job of decision maker—the reality is that they are simply not yet suited to such complex tasks and will instead work side-by-side with humans,” Gordon Wilson, CEO of Advanced, told Verdict. The study also showed that automation is becoming a reality for many British workers: 72 percent have already adopted automation technologies, 65 percent say they would be happy to work alongside robotic technology, and 35 percent want to see artificial intelligence become a regular part of their daily working lives. “Leaders need to step up, to provide the clear direction that people need and take charge of the intense technology change happening as a result of the digital era,” Wilson said.

Leadership in the age of robots

 “Robots are never sick and they are never in a bad mood,” making them a palatable option for employers, writes Soulaima Gourani in this Forbes Leadership Strategy op-ed. But, she is also quick to point out that it’s up to the leaders to ensure human employees continue to evolve with technology. Here are four ways she believes employers can better integrate humans and robots in the workplace: 1. Engagement. Involve your staff and let them help decide in which kind of technology the company should invest. 2. Upgrade. A great leader must make sure employees are skilled, educated and motivated to use and work with technology. 3. Creativity and inspiration. Make sure the workforce is ready and trained in social skills, decision-making, innovation and creativity. 4. Trend mapping. For a company to evolve with the times, a great leader must be able to read, understand and translate the industry trends.

The future of work with AI

“The current wave of artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to an autonomous enterprise and before long we won’t be able to imagine doing work any other way,” argues Chuck Hollis in this Forbes BrandVoice blog post. He describes the autonomous enterprise as an organization where many decisions are made with the help of machine learning, resulting in better, faster and higher-quality decisions. Hollis dismisses the concerns about AI making most of the current workforce obsolete. “Spreadsheets didn’t put accountants out of work; it helped them do more work in less time,” he writes. “When we invent better tools, the nature of work—and our lives—usually changes for the better. The same will be true as our organizations start using machine learning wherever human decisions are made, making our organizations more autonomous and vastly better at decision-making in the process.”

Using AI to refine employee performance

“Using artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the customer journey is the concept that’s gotten the most of the media coverage thus far. However, one of the most important things to remember about business is that a stellar customer experience starts on the inside,” writes Manish Dudharejia in this Entrepreneur article. He believes AI tools can be game-changers for both predicting and improving employee performance. During the hiring process AI can be used to screen candidates for key traits. In order to improve employee performance with AI, Dudharejia recommends tracking performance metrics to identify top performers and weak spots. “These detailed insights can then be used to create a gold standard that employees need to be held to,” he writes. “This might relate to time management, email habits, approaches to multi-tasking and other factors. Furthermore, these clear standards of achievement can essentially eliminate bias in the workplace.”

Five ways to evaluate AI systems for HR

With the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems and tools available to recruiters, it is important to assess how well they work, argues Felix Wetzel in this Recruiting Daily article. He highlights five features that can help recruiters evaluate AI systems: 1. It displays a human-centric functionality that can analyze resumé keywords in semantic context. 2. Built by experts, it features an easy-to-use interface and fits neatly into the recruiter’s workflow. 3. It’s designed to be transparent in order to create trust and eliminate concerns about regulation. 4. It puts the user in control, not the algorithms, and puts a greater emphasis on decisions and activities. 5. It mitigates bias with a diversity of data sources and linear models. “As a next step, I would insist on a trial, so you can use the system and experience the performance and results for yourself within your company’s and industry’s context,” Wetzel writes.

Human + machine = collaborative intelligence

We would be remiss if we didn’t highlight Accenture’s Paul Daugherty and James Wilson’s latest article in the July / August issue of the prestigious Harvard Business Review. “Companies benefit from optimizing collaboration between humans and artificial intelligence (AI),” they write. Their in-depth article is a distillation of their book, “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI.” The article outlines the five principles that companies can utilize to make the most of this collaboration: 1. Reimagine business processes. 2. Embrace experimentation / employee involvement. 3. Actively direct AI strategy. 4. Responsibly collect data. 5. Redesign work to incorporate AI and cultivate related employee skills. “So far, however, only a small number of the companies we’ve surveyed have begun to reimagine their business processes to optimize collaborative intelligence. But the lesson is clear: Organizations that use machines merely to displace workers through automation will miss the full potential of AI. Such a strategy is misguided from the get-go. Tomorrow’s leaders will instead be those that embrace collaborative intelligence, transforming their operations, their markets, their industries, and—no less important—their workforces,” they conclude.

AI and the Future of Work

In this Forbes BrandVoice blog, Rob Preston shares the top insights from Oracle HCM Dallas on the power and potential of artificial intelligence in HR. 1. The huge value of AI: AI applications can help recruiters identify and rank candidates that are most likely to fit in, stay and perform at the company by analyzing data shared by each applicant. 2. Don’t let AI get lost in in translation: Preston mentions how Accenture automated 17,000 jobs in the last three years without any layoffs. He quotes keynote speaker Jacob Morgan: “The organizations that are going to win are the organizations that are going to use AI to explore new opportunities, to augment humans, to help humans, not replace them.” 3. Old impressions die hard: Getting past the fear of AI is crucial to maximizing the performance of the younger generation. 4. Catch the wave before it wipes you out: AI, machine learning and other technologies are coming fast and companies need to catch up fast or die, Preston writes.

How AI helps with the hiring process

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not something that is on the horizon for HR; many recruiting programs already utilize it in order to get a competitive edge in a tight job market, argues Meghan Biro in this TalentCulture blog post. “There is no reason for any organization to shy away from AI’s capability — whether a big Silicon Valley firm or a small and lean startup,” she writes. “And leveling the playing field and reaching the same candidates as a larger organization, let alone a direct competitor, is just a matter of knowing how to use AI.” Biro highlights the five best practices of AI in the hiring journey: 1. Use AI to help find talent in specific locations by “geofencing.” 2. Make vital first connections with candidates using data collected via AI. 3. Tap virtual assistants to begin conversations with prospective candidates. 4. Use predictive analytics to make sure the candidates are the right fit. 5. Keep the hiring process moving with virtual auditions and video interviews. “AI enables hiring teams to make and maintain radically better connections with talent, garner a far better sense of fit over a whole spectrum of criteria and, frankly, be more human than we’ve been in a long time,” she writes.

New AI startup aims to help HR departments

Three former Google employees have formed Spoke, a new artificial intelligence startup that promises to ‘make life easier for HR departments, IT workers and office managers everywhere,’ Inc. reports this week. The software will be able to answer employees’ basic inquiries across multiple channels via chatbot, based on information it learns about a given company. “For new employees, that could mean a searchable home for tax forms and employee handbooks,” writes Kevin J. Ryan. “For the whole staff, it could mean a bot that knows everything from the guest wi-fi password to how to input travel expenses to the company policy or rolling over sick days from year to year.” He reports the company will launch the software in March with 100 companies, ranging from nonprofits to tech startups. “The software is designed to be more than just a source of information; it also can handle facilities requests, such as meeting room and equipment reservations, and can pass requests on to office managers when necessary,” Ryan writes.  

Pivoting the workforce to seize AI-driven growth

In addition to partnering with the WEF on the reskilling initiative, last week at Davos we also released our own Accenture Strategy report, “Reworking the Revolution.” The report identified a disconnect between workers’ embrace of artificial intelligence (AI) and their employers’ efforts to prepare workers. While a majority (54 percent) of business leaders say that human-machine collaboration is important to their strategic priorities, only three percent say their organization plans to significantly increase its investment in reskilling their workers in the next three years. Stronger commitment to AI could boost revenues by 38 percent and employment by 10 percent by 2022, the report found. “Business leaders must take immediate steps to pivot their workforce to enter an entirely new world where human ingenuity meets intelligent technology to unlock new forms of growth,” said Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, Accenture. “Workers are impatient to collaborate with AI, giving leaders the opportunity to demonstrate true ‘applied intelligence’ within their organization.” 

AI as means to enhance employee experience

Continuing with more predictions of the latest emerging trends for 2018 is Rick Rider with this RT Insights blog post on how artificial intelligence (AI) will begin to shift enterprise as companies begin to adopt it to remain agile. “The stakes for the tasks being carried out by AI in the enterprise are often much higher – and come with significantly greater risks. As such, enterprise AI must be adopted quite differently than consumer AI,” Rider writes. “Integrating AI into enterprises is imminent, and those businesses that fail to embrace this type of technology risk becoming extinct. The question is no longer whether to use AI in business, but rather, which specific tasks are appropriate for this technology and what are the best practices for making it most valuable for your business?” Rider recommends businesses adopting AI to focus on data storage, security, feedback and citizen developer toolkits. “AI in the enterprise a relatively new phenomenon, and it should not be treated simply as an extension of consumer-facing AI,” he writes.