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    Entries in Technology (426)

    Monday
    Jan282019

    A deep dive into the impact of automation and technology on jobs

    I spent some time over the weekend, (I know, I probably need some other hobbies), reviewing a new report from the Brookings Institute titled 'Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How Machines are Affecting People and Places'. In the report, Brookings sought to examine (like plenty of other organizations in the last few years), what the potential impact of advanced technologies, automation, and AI will be on the labor market. Mainly, which kinds of jobs and in what areas are more or less likely to be affected, changed, and potentially replaced as technology continues to improve and advance.

    There is a ton of interesting information in the 100+ page report, and for those of you who are interested in this sort of thing, I would block some time to go through it all, but for those who may want a shorter, TL;DR version, here are what are to me, the three most interesting findings/conclusions/takeaways from the report.

    1. Contrary to a lot of hype and hysteria around automation and AI, most jobs are not highly susceptible to automation. Take a look at the key finding from Brookings in the chart below:

    While almost no single occupation will be completely unaffected by the adoption of new technology, the impact on jobs will be of varying intensity and significant for only about 25% of jobs. Another 52 million or so jobs, about 36% of the labor force will see some or medium impact from new tech. And another 39% of jobs will only see a low impact from new technology. This disparate impact on jobs reminds me of the old saying, 'The future has already arrived, it's just not evenly distributed'.

    2. Lower wage jobs are, on average, more exposed to potential automation. Within the variability expressed in the first chart, Brookings tries to break down what kinds of jobs, at what kind of wages, and in which geographic areas are most prone to be impacted by technology. Here's a look at the data around wage level and potential impact from automation:

    The main driver behind lower wage jobs being more susceptible to automation is the tendency for jobs made up largely of routine, predictable physical and cognitive tasks are the ones most vulnerable to automation in the short and medium term. Think jobs like office administration, simple production, and food preparation. So according to Brookings the roles that now tend to pay the lowest wages are at the most risk. The danger of this of course is that the people holding these jobs also tend to be the least prepared to make a job shift into roles that are more complex, higher up the wage scale, and less likely to be impacted by technology.

    3. In addition to varying widely across types of jobs and wage level, automation of jobs is likely to vary widely by location as well. The larger relative impact will be felt, according to Brookings, in smaller, and more rural areas. See the data below:

    There's a lot of detailed data to parse through there, but basically workers in smaller and more rural communities are about 10 percentage points more likely to have their jobs adversely impacted by technology than workers in urban areas. This could be a by-product of the continuing challenge that smaller communities have in keeping their skilled and younger workers from leaving to seek better opportunities in larger towns and cities.

    Since this is a long post already, I will leave covering what the folks at Brookings suggest can be done by localities, companies, education, and people in order to be better prepared for the ongoing waves of automation. Suffice to say though that understanding the problem and challenge is the important first step to solving it.

    Take some time to look at the whole report if you can.

    Have a great week!

    Thursday
    Dec132018

    HRE Column: HCM Trends for 2019

    Heading into the final stretch of 2018 and I wanted to share with you, gentle reader, the latest installment of the monthly Inside HR Tech Column that runs on Human Resource Executive Online.

    The piece is titled HR Technology Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore, and is a look at some imporant HR and HR Technolgy trends inspired by a recently released report, 2019 HCM Trends Report, from three of the best independent HR and HR tech analysts in the space.

    Here's an excerpt from the piece on HRE:

    With the end of the year fast approaching, it is natural to turn our attention to the coming year, which means reading, thinking and talking with HR-technology leaders about the trends, developments and new technologies they think will have the most impact for HR organizations in the new year. Fortunately for me, three industry experts who are regular speakers at the HR Technology Conference—George LaRocque, Ben Eubanks and Trish McFarlane—recently released the 2019 HCM Trends Report, which identifies several of the big-picture HCM and workplace trends that will impact organizations and shape the direction of HR-technology innovation in 2019.

    I recommend downloading and reading the entire (free) report here, but I also wanted to highlight three of what I think are the more important HCM trends that the authors lay out in the report. I’ll also suggest some ways HR-technology innovation will reflect these trends in 2019 and offer recommendations for HR leaders on how to move forward.

    Practical Applications of AI at Work

    If there was one term that seemed to shape much of the HR-technology conversation in 2018, it was artificial intelligence. Like many macro-technology trends that have come before (SaaS, mobile, UX, etc.), AI is now increasingly applied to support HR and talent-management functions. But like many emerging technologies of the past, AI seems more like just a cool set of capabilities still in search of the right problems to help solve.

    In the 2019 HCM Trends Report, Eubanks makes a great point about where the AI conversation needs to head in 2019 stating, “The thing that’s going to change in 2019 is a greater focus on the actual, practical impacts of AI. It’s no longer enough to shout that your technology has machine learning or automation capabilities if you want attention—you’ll have to explain the problems it solves, or risk being overshadowed by those that do.”

    The takeaway for HR leaders who are thinking about how to make AI-enabled HR-technology plans for 2019? Make sure you press any potential technology provider for demonstrable examples of real-world applications of these AI tools, and the ability to see quantifiable results of these projects. In 2019, AI must move past the “hype” and begin to deliver real returns, or as Eubanks correctly implies, the technologies—and your efforts using them—will not be successful.

    Read the rest at HRE Online...

    You can also subscribe on HRE Online to get my monthly Inside HR Tech column via email here. I promise it will be the most exciting email you will ever receive. 

    Thanks for checking out the column, the blog, the podcasts, the 'Alexa' show, and all the nonsense I'm now in my second decade of churning out. 

    Have a great day!

    Wednesday
    Dec122018

    Job titles of the future: Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer

    If 2018 was the 'Year of AI' in enterprise technology, 2019 is shaping up to be Year 2 I would suspect. The development, growth, spread, and seeming ubiquity of technology providers touting their AI and Machine Learning powered solutions is showing no signs of slowing as we end 2018. As with any newer or emerging technology, the application of AI technologies offer great promise and potential benefits, but also can lead to some unexpected and even undesirable outcomes, if not managed closely and effectively.

    One leading enterprise technology company, Salesforce, is acting more proactively than most AI players in recognizing the potential for negative applications of AI tools, and is taking steps to address them, most notably by creating and hiring for a new position, today's 'Job Title of the Future' the 'Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer.' 

    Details from reporting on Business Insider on the new appointment:

    In the midst of the ongoing controversies over how tech companies can use artificial intelligence for no good, Salesforce is about to hire its first Chief Ethical and Humane Use officer.

    On Monday, Salesforce announced it would hire Paula Goldman to lead its new Office of Ethical and Humane Use, and she will officially start on Jan. 7. This office will focus on developing strategies to use technology in an ethical and humane way at Salesforce. 

    "For years, I've admired Salesforce as a leader in ethical business,” Goldman said in a statement. “We're at an important inflection point as an industry, and I'm excited to work with this team to chart a path forward."

    With the development of the new Office of Ethical and Humane Use, Salesforce plans to merge law, policy and ethics to develop products in an ethical manner. That's especially notable, as Salesforce itself has come under fire from its own employees for a contract it holds with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    A C-Level hire with the remit to develop strategies to use tech in an ethical and humane way is a pretty interesting approach to the challenges of increasingly powerful AI powered technologies being let loose in the world. Most of the time, enterprise tech companies sell or license their technologies to end customers who are then more or less free to apply these technologies to help them solve their own business challenges. The technology providers typically have not waded into making value judgements on their customers or the ways that the technologies are being applied to the customers' ends.

    What Salesforce seems to be indicating is that they intend to be more intentional or even careful about how their technologies are used in the market, and want to signal their desire to ensure they are used in an ethical and humane way.

    This to me is a really interesting development in how technology (or potentially any kind of product producer), may need to look at how their products are used by customers. This role at Salesforce is focused on AI technologies, probably because AI seems to be an area ripe with the potential for misuse. But AI tools and technologies are by no means the only product that once unleashed on the market can drive negative outcomes. Here's a short and incomplete list: firearms, soda, fast food, tobacco products, cars that drive 150MPH, skinny jeans, and on and on.

    Will this appointment of a Chief Ethical and Human Use Officer at Salesforce mark the start of a new trend where product creators take a more active role in how their products and solutions are applied?

    We will see, I guess, it will be interesting to watch.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Nov262018

    HRE Column: Navigating #HRTech Mergers and Acquisitions

    Shaking off the post-Thanksgiving holiday turkey coma to share with you, gentle reader, the latest installment of the monthly Inside HR Tech Column that runs on Human Resource Executive Online.

    The piece is titled Navigating Mergers and Acquisitions in HR Tech, and is a look at some recent M&A activity in the HR Tech space, and offers some suggestions for HR leaders as to how to best protect their organization's investments in HR tech in this climate.

    Here's an excerpt from the piece on HRE:

    Recently, several significant mergers and acquisitions in the HR-technology market have made news. From Ultimate Software acquiring PeopleDoc to Saba Software acquiring Lumesse (and Halogen Software before that) to the latest and largest announcement that SAP will acquire Qualtrics for $8 billion in cash, there has been no shortage of wow-inducing developments in HR tech.

    But while these announcements certainly produce headlines and get analyzed for their impact on share prices, market share and the software company’s long-term futures, we often tend to overlook one really important constituency that is impacted by these M&A events: the customers of the company that gets acquired.

    While the M&A announcements and subsequent comments from executives of the acquiring company usually talk a little about what the future may hold for the acquired product and its customers, there definitely can be some uncertainty about the future direction of an acquired company and product set. For customers of those products, it is important to understand what an M&A event may mean for them, and to be as prepared as possible for any impacts—including changes that can significantly alter the customer’s HR technology platforms and future direction.

    If your company is a customer/user of an HR-technology solution that has been acquired by another HR-tech provider, here are three things to consider as you react to the news:

    Read the rest at HRE Online...

    You can also subscribe on HRE Online to get my monthly Inside HR Tech column via email here. I promise it will be the most exciting email you will ever receive. 

    Thanks for checking out the column, the blog, the podcasts, the 'Alexa' show, and all the nonsense I'm now in my second decade of churning out. 

    Have a great week!

    Wednesday
    Oct312018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 344 - Make Work Simpler, Smarter, and More Agile

    HR Happy Hour 344- Make Work Simpler, Smarter and More Agile

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Host: Trish McFarlane 

    Guest: Emily He, SVP of Marketing for Human Capital Management at Oracle

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Trish recorded live from Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, to talk with Emily He about themes Oracle is embracing in developing solutions to support the workplace of the future. How are they approaching this? There are a few ways:

    Make Work Simpler: Artificial intelligence and machine learning deliver an easier and more familiar user experience for employees. Oracle is innovating with scalable HR Concierge with digital assistants, a mobile- responsive experience and configurable action lists for represented worker processes.

    Make Work Smarter: Powerful AI-based tools help organizations make smarter, more strategic business decisions by taking a data-first approach to talent management. Oracle is using smart sourcing with Best-Fit Candidate and self-Learning Risk Management with Advanced HCM Controls.

    Make Work Agile: New innovations help employees collaborate, improve skills and experience a unique, consistent company culture across all platforms.

    Listen to the show on the show page HERE, on your favorite podcast app, or by using the widget player below:

    This was a really interesting and fun show - thanks to Emily and everyone at Oracle for having the HR Happy Hour Show at their event.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.