“The thing about human resources that I’ve noticed is that I think we are really approaching the time where the end of business as usual is happening and human resources and business follows as a consequence,” noted Gerd Leonhard, Futurist and Author of ‘Technology vs Humanity‘ in a recent talk at the 2018 BeyondHR forum in Amsterdam. “When we talk about people, what do we do in the future? All of the mechanics of today’s business, salaries, hiring, firing, vetting, taxes, etc., I think machines can do a lot of that.” Of course, he’s talking about very intelligent machines that learn via machine learning and utilize cognitive computing enabling the reviewing billions of data points within seconds in order to make recommendations and in some cases actual decisions that impact humans.
Social Responsibility of HR and Technology
“Clearly, the more connected we become, the stronger we must think about responsibility, ethics, design, social contracts. When HR moves to the cloud, and many of you are already in the cloud, the possibilities are endless but the responsibility is also increasing. It’s a very powerful tool, so if something goes wrong it can also have very powerful consequences. The primary moving count is that we should put human flourishing first, put the human inside. We should never ask the question if technology can do something, just because it can. Right now, that’s still a question, but in ten years technology can literally do anything. Once we have quantum computing, that’s roughly 5-7 years to really happen, then we have unlimited juice where we could do anything. Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than it has in the previous 300 years!”
So How Does This Impact HR?
“Anything that cannot be automated or digitized becomes more valuable and that is going to be the tough part for HR,” says Leonhard. “How in the world would you measure people based on those KPI’s, so to speak, the KPI of compassion? In a way, you do that now but you do it in a non-scientific way, you do it personally. And how do you teach somebody emotional intelligence?” We are moving to a world where emotional intelligence is becoming just as important as IQ for HR managers, according to the author.
“We should embrace technology but not become it. I think for HR that holds the key to the future, embracing technology but in such a way that we can still serve humans.