Home' HR Monthly : March 2018 Contents 30
back then. But the money only came to you at
the end of every fortnight if you agreed to have
someone come to your house and ask questions
about the food you were serving, whether you
were drinking or not, whether your kids were
in school, whether you were speaking English
at home -- it was this incredible surveillance of
his workers. In the context of creating what he
thought was an appropriate workforce.
So it's interesting, we've had ideas of how to
navigate through those things for a long time.
And they've always been complicated.
GD: But have they become more complicated?
GB: Imagine a world where many of the ways
you are being managed are invisible to you.
I think about some of the practices in Silicon
Valley, where in certain employee contracts, one
of the things you agree to is that your company
will scrutinise your social media profiles. They
track what you're posting as part of your work.
That's a very different way of thinking about
what being good at your job might look like. So
how we think about our jobs hasn't necessarily
caught up with the ways our jobs really are.
GD: How should HR be influencing the
conversation around AI and automation?
GB: The first thing is doing a better job of
representing the research that already exists.
For instance, there's a "30 per cent job loss
by 2020" statistic you hear a lot.
But if you actually look at that original study,
they say certain tasks are going away and the
automation of those tasks will change the nature
of jobs. And that some jobs have more tasks that
automation can handle than others.
Is it the case that jobs will go away? Well,
some might. It's more likely that certain tasks
will be more augmented by technology, but we'll
still need to have people in the equation.
Part of that is figuring out the things that
we'll need that will remain exquisitely human.
So, let's say certain kinds of negotiations are
better with computation, others are not. The
challenge there is: who is setting those terms?
GD: Because an AI can have bias too?
GB: Right. So would an algorithm be useful
for ensuring we had pay equity? We know there
are long-standing gender pay gaps in Australia.
So, maybe, if you use an AI engine, it could
ensure that everybody got paid fairly because
it wouldn't have issues such as the way men
negotiate being different from the way women
negotiate. It might mean that forms of micro-
inequities could disappear.
That would be excellent, until you start to
ask how you're going to program that AI to do
it? If you used existing pay data, that would just
enshrine inequities where they currently exist.
So that wouldn't be any good.
If you did it by asking the person to answer
a series of questions, how would you write the
questions in such a way that they did not reveal
information that could later get a bias written
on top of it? So there are really interesting HR-
related questions about how we start building
out this technology in the workforce to ensure
we're creating a world we want to work in.
BE INSPIRED AT THE AHRI
AND EXHIBITION 2018
Hear the world's most influential speakers on
management and organisational behaviour
including Lynda Gratton, Charles Handy and
Genevieve Bell, at the AHRI National Convention
and Exhibition at the Melbourne Convention and
Exhibition Centre from 28 to 30 August 2018.
One of the questions companies and HR
should be asking is, what is the result you're
looking for? Is it about efficiency? And if so,
what's the efficiency being gained, the time spent
processing an employee request or complaint?
Is that the measure of success, or is the
measure of success whether employees feel like
they're being appropriately serviced by HR? Is it
the amount of time it took, versus the fact that I
was treated as though I mattered?
And those questions may get you to very
different notions of where you use AI versus
where you don't.
GD: So what can attendees to AHRI's
National Convention expect?
GB: My favourite comment, when I give a
talk, is when somebody wanders up to me and
says: 'My brain hurts!' So if there is at least one
person in the audience who goes away and is
still thinking 24 hours later about what I've said,
then I will have done a good job. •••
AI, is guring
what are the
things that we
will need that
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