Article: The Future of Work: Exploring the nexus of AI and human connection in modern workplaces


The Future of Work: Exploring the nexus of AI and human connection in modern workplaces

Organisations should be cautious not to use AI as a cost-saving tool that disregards the needs of employees. While AI can replicate certain functions of human cognition, it cannot replace the empathy and human connection that are essential for HR roles, say Greg Orme and Ashish Singh.
The Future of Work: Exploring the nexus of AI and human connection in modern workplaces

Ever since the launch of ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), the world has been abuzz with the potential of this ground-breaking technology. It is a natural language processing tool that uses artificial intelligence to generate human-like responses to written or spoken prompts. Hence, not only can it learn from vast amounts of data, but ChatGPT can also produce responses that are difficult to distinguish from those of a human being.

This has led to many thinking about its potential in transforming numerous industries, including customer service, healthcare, and education, but most importantly in the world of work - Human Resources. With the ability to generate natural-language responses to job candidates' questions and concerns, ChatGPT can streamline the recruitment, hiring processes and much more. 

However, as with any new technology, there are also concerns about the potential negative impacts of Chat GPT. While some are worrying that this new-age tool could lead to job losses, others are concerned about the ethical implications of creating such a powerful technology. ChatGPT's potential to transform and evolve the world of work was the focus of People Matters’ most recent LinkedIn Live session under its Big Questions series

Panellists Greg Orme, the International keynote speaker and award-winning author who's delivered more than 400 talks to executive audiences around the world and Ashish Singh, the CTO of Virtualness, a platform that assists brands and creators in navigating the challenging Web3 environment, deliberated on the probable strengths and weaknesses of ChatGPT on the workforce.

ChatGPT: A tool to help workers to focus on higher-level tasks

ChatGPT is a cutting-edge language model developed by OpenAI that has the potential to revolutionise the way workers approach their jobs. One of the key benefits of this tool is that it can automate repetitive and time-consuming jobs, allowing workers to focus on higher-level tasks that require creativity and critical thinking. This makes ChatGPT not a replacement for human workers, but an advanced tool that could help employees in achieving their full potential by freeing them from mundane tasks and enabling them to focus on assignments that require human ingenuity.

“Generative AI is incredibly powerful, but like any tool, it has both benefits and risks. Since its launch in November, ChatGPT has received recognition from Google, which has even considered hiring it as a base-level coder. This is a clear indication of how serious this technology is. In the 2020s, we need to learn how to differentiate ourselves from machines rather than competing with them because we will inevitably lose. This shift opens up new opportunities to add value in the workplace and carve out a space for unique human skills,” said the award-winning author.

“Over the last decade, we've seen significant technological advancements that have impacted various fields. It's important to note that these changes are not limited to a specific domain. For instance, HR professionals must adapt to new tools and technologies to remain agile. With the introduction of generative AI, we're already seeing a significant impact on daily work routines, as it allows individuals to focus on creative and strategic tasks that require human expertise, ultimately leading to more innovative and impactful work,” added the former Senior Vice President of Technology at Nykaa.  

The future of HR operations in the world of AI

In the age of artificial intelligence, it's no secret that many industries are being transformed, and the world of Human Resources is no exception. HR professionals have been relying on manual processes and a significant amount of paperwork for decades, but AI technologies like ChatGPT have emerged as game-changers in the field. According to the CTO of Virtualness, one of the most significant ways that ChatGPT is revolutionising HR operations is by streamlining recruitment processes. The tool can parse job descriptions and resumes to match candidates to suitable positions, saving HR professionals time and effort.

"There are many areas in which AI can have a significant impact in the short term, and one of those is recruitment. To process the vast amount of data available on candidates, their responses and resumes, AI can be largely helpful. However, the role of HR professionals is still critical in the recruitment process, particularly in terms of engaging with candidates. In addition, AI can be used to process and parse employee engagement and retention data from surveys, conversations, emails, and other sources. This can provide insights into employee sentiment, career growth aspirations, and organisational expectations, which can be used to improve the employee experience. While AI tools can automate these processes, it is important that HR professionals use the insights generated to build upon and enhance the employee experience,” Ashish Singh told People Matters. 

Adding up to the same, Greg Orme said, “By leveraging the efficiency and content creation capabilities of ChatGPT, HR professionals can redirect their time and efforts towards higher-order tasks that add strategic value to the organisation. Moreover, the model can assist leaders in supporting colleagues with performance management issues and structuring meetings, no matter where they are in the world. The applications of ChatGPT in the HR world are vast and varied, promising to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of HR operations in organisations of all sizes. With the integration of AI tools like ChatGPT, HR professionals can step up their game, becoming strategic partners to their organisations and maximising the value they bring to the table.”

The challenge of bias in generative AI

Generative AI is not immune to the problem of bias. Many assume that AI is neutral and objective, but in reality, AI is only as unbiased as the data it is trained on. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the biases present in the training data and the potential impact on the output. The important thing to remember is that addressing bias requires recognising the problem, collecting diverse data, implementing bias detection and mitigation measures, promoting transparency and explainability, and ongoing efforts from all stakeholders.

“The use of AI in HR operations raises important considerations around potential risks and challenges. One of the most significant challenges is the potential for bias and discrimination in the data used to train AI models. This data reflects the biases of our society and culture and can have unintended consequences, such as changing scores or perpetuating backward-looking practices. To address these issues, guardrails must be put in place to ensure an integrated solution that is transparent and explainable. However, there is a risk that the complexity of AI tools can create a black box effect, where users are unable to understand why certain outputs are generated,” said Ashish Singh. 

“This lack of explainability can lead to a trial-and-error approach to finding the right prompts or inputs, rather than a systematic approach that ensures accuracy and fairness. Integrating AI with workplace operations can be an enhancer, but it is important to consider the human aspect of resource management. Organisations should be cautious not to use AI as a cost-saving tool that disregards the needs of employees. While AI can replicate certain functions of human cognition, it cannot replace the empathy and human connection that are essential in coaching and other human resource roles. Ultimately, AI should be used as a tool to enhance HR operations and free up time for human resources professionals to focus on the high-value tasks that require human skills and judgment,” he added. 

From AI to IA: Integrating human intelligence to revolutionise problem-solving

As the world becomes increasingly digitised, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that computers are better than humans at everything. While it's true that computers excel at tasks that involve repetitive calculations and vast amounts of data, they lack the critical thinking and emotional intelligence that humans possess. The key to understanding the value of both humans and computers lies in recognising their respective strengths.

"I believe the key is to understand the strengths of AI and human beings, and how we can collaborate effectively. As a mathematician at Carnegie Mellon University, Hans Moravec has identified the 'Moravec's Paradox' - AI excels in computation tasks where computers have an advantage over humans, while humans excel in tasks such as understanding context, connecting dots and comprehending the "why" behind things. Picasso once said that computers are useless because they only give you answers, whereas humans are good at asking the right questions to take it to the next level,” said the international keynote speaker.  

He further encouraged “people to be more curious, especially in generating prompts that lead to better AI output and then apply their contextual thinking to ensure that the output is relevant in the specific context. While ChatGPT can generate a plethora of ideas, the real superpower of humans is their ability to understand and interpret context-specific details accurately. Therefore, it is crucial to sharpen critical thinking skills when evaluating the accuracy and ethical implications of AI-generated content. After all, ChatGPT is like a barroom ball - always certain but often wrong, and it is up to us to critically analyse its output and decide whether it is appropriate for the situation at hand.

The ChatGPT job boom 

Many industries are exploring how AI can improve and innovate their fields. While AI may replace some jobs, it is also creating new career paths that were previously unheard of. As technology continues to advance, the world will likely see more ChatGPT job booms and other AI-driven career paths emerge, creating new opportunities for those willing to embrace the changing landscape of work.

"The evolution of AI has been rapid, with new job opportunities for people, including roles in data management, auditing AI output for accuracy, and testing for biases. These processes will become valuable skills for non-tech individuals to upskill and be relevant in the new age. The goal is not to replace human creativity with AI, but rather to augment it, saving time and increasing productivity,” said the CTO of Virtualness.

"Organisations need to be careful not to overlook the added value that certain jobs provide beyond their surface-level functions. For example, a doorman or doorwoman in a posh hotel is not just opening and closing doors; they also signal the quality of the hotel, greet guests and provide security. Automating such a job could result in a loss of these extra benefits. Overall, the ability to unlearn and relearn will be essential for individuals facing job displacement due to automation. While some may need to completely change careers, for many, it will be more of an evolution. As we navigate these changes, it's important to remember the human strengths that AI cannot replace,” explained the award-winning author. 

Bias, privacy, and automation: The challenges of ChatGPT

ChatGPT has immense potential to transform the way we interact with technology. However, with such great power come significant challenges and risks. The potential bias that comes with such chatbots could perpetuate harmful stereotypes and reinforce existing prejudices. Additionally, the model may inadvertently pick up on and reproduce pejoratives, which could have devastating consequences. 

“There is a clear privacy issue with AI. As a tool that ingests and utilises data, it is crucial to be cautious about how it is handled. Over-reliance on AI, a narrow-minded view on job replacement, and bias issues are some of the challenges that have arisen over the last decade. To prevent AI from getting out of control, it's essential to ensure that the data input is accurate and bias-free. With great power comes great responsibility, and this powerful tool requires careful handling. Companies and individuals must approach it with caution and a sense of responsibility,” advised Greg Orme. 

To gain further insights from industry experts on the pressing issues in today's ever-evolving world of work, do follow People Matters' Big Questions series on LinkedIn.

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Topics: Technology, Talent Acquisition, HR Technology, #BigQuestions, #HRTech

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