Home' HR Monthly : June 2019 Contents 38
HR TECH TALK
FUTURE OF HR TECH
Come and learn from Dr Catherine Ball – a
keynote speaker at the HR Tech Conference – at
AHRI's National Convention and Exhibition.
ather than worrying that technology
will replace us, we need to shift the
conversation to how AI and robotics can
make us even more hu man. The emergence of
industry 5.0 will be integral to this.
While a lot of organisations might feel they’re
chasing their tail to come to terms with Industry
4.0 – which includes the emergence of AI and
the Internet of Things – it’s time we thought
even more long-term. Industry 5.0 is about how
we get all new and emerging systems to work
better for humanity.
Let’s move beyond the smartphone and
smart home and think about smart workplaces,
suburbs and cities.
Using sensors to make smarter workplaces
is an example of how we’re already making
Industry 5.0 a reality. They measure how people
move around in an office space; how long they
spend in quiet spaces; whether they’re sitting
or standing; and which desk spaces they’re
utilising. This kind of information allows us to
build workplaces around how humans behave,
rather than forcing our behaviour to be dictated
by how workplaces are built. Such technology
has also already been proven to minimise
There’s no reason, other than cost, not to
take something like this on. A nd money can’t
be the only reason you don’t do something. I
think we’re at a tipping point and this type of
technology will be seen in most workplaces in
two years’ time.
Potential retention tool
HR teams should reconsider how they think
about AI and move away from a replacement
mentality to a retrain-and-retain mentality.
The first wave of jobs to be affected by
automation will be those often referred to as
'low-skill jobs'. They aren’t valued as highly as
C-suite executives or money makers and include
jobs like receptionist or administrative staff.
These staff (usually women) have the necessary
soft-skills to be successfully retrained – they
have EQ, people skills and raw intelligence.
These aren’t things you gain a qualification in,
yet people who have them are perfect candidates
for cybersecurity roles.
To fire your admin employee and hire
someone in cybersecurity costs about $150,000.
To retrain someone in cybersecurity, it will
cost around $25,000. It’s a fallacy that all
cybersecu rity professionals need to know how
to code, a lot of it is about hu man psychology.
And who’s good at human psychology and
following processes? Those in the frontline,
client-facing roles in your organisation. There’s
a real opportunity here for HR.
It takes a village
With so much of the internet and our new
technologies being developed by white men
in Silicon Valley, it’s more important than
ever for diversity of thought to be included
in the creation and implementation of new
technologies. Without it, we’re left with
products that only cater to a certain section of
society. Any model, any system, any process is
only as good as the people who are writing it
and the data that is going into it.
Apple’s iPhone is a great example. When they
released the health app, they included a function
to count your steps and measure your heartbeat,
but no function to track your menstrual cycle
– a crucial capabiltiy for half its user-base. This
happened because there was no diversity around
the table when the app was developed.
There are plenty of other examples,
such as the automatic soap dispenser that
only recognised white hands, or Amazon’s
recruitment tool which showed a bias against
If you don’t have technology that’s
representative of everyone’s thoughts and
experiences, then you’re only going to end up
with something that’s inferior.
As individuals, we have a responsibility to
educate ourselves about this new technology.
HR professionals in particular should take the
time to get themselves up to speed on the latest
developments in workplace technology. Send
resources to your staff or get an expert to come
into your office and run a seminar. The future
of you r business depends on it. •••
We needn’t be scared of automation and the digital age.
BY DR. CATHERINE BALL
23/5/19 4:23 pm
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