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How is Technology Changing HR?

With AI and robotics, what does the future hold for HR professionals?

By Martin Kahn

Martin is Oakwood's Associate Learning Consultant and works in our Associate Team
More from Martin >>

A few months ago I had some good friends and their kids come over for dinner. Their kids are 15 and 13 respectively and in my opinion have more computer savvy in their little fingers than I do in my whole body. The big topic of conversation was immediately centered around Samantha West the telemarketing robot who claims she is human. So we all listened to the online recording where a caller challenges her to reveal her robotic status and receives only denial. We were all impressed at how realistic she sounded even down the tinkling laugh and her dulcet tones.

HR Automation?

But the experience did get me to thinking: how do we adapt to a world that is slowly but surely being run by technology? If even telesales operators are now nothing more than clever programming responses, what advantage does the human face of a business have? Since HR is predominantly all about building and maintaining the human capital value of any organisation, and more and more HR departments are automating their systems, how long is it before we can expect a ramped up version of “Press 1 for number of days of leave left, press 2 to generate a complaint against your manager.” And then an inevitable warm and humanoid voice saying: “So, you are unhappy with your manager – how does that make you feel?” 

According to further research on I09 and Gizmodo, Denver Nicks from Time is quoted as saying: “But the peculiar thing about Samantha West isn’t just that she is automated. It’s that she is so smartly automated that she is trained to respond to queries about whether or not she is a robot by telling you she’s human.”

Or HR outsourcing?

At Oakwood we often tell our students that HR is under threat. What we usually mean is that the threat comes from HR being outsourced to other companies, which has started to happen in some fairly large organisations across the globe. Who knew that even the outsourcing companies may now be under threat by a SMART microchip. Are we heading toward the Rise of The Machines? Was Arnold Schwarzenegger right all along?

As we move toward human and technological enlightenment what will the future work place of 15 years’ time look like? How much of our job descriptions will be automated? 

I will leave you to ponder these and other such questions as I power down and return to my sleep pod where I will dream of a bright, shiny and metallic future where nothing can go wrong….go wrong….go wrong…go wrong…go wrong…go wrong