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HR leaders: Your future is augmented (but what does that actually mean?)

18 April 2020


Story by
Adrienne Percival


In the first of a series looking at augmented intelligence and how it can help HRs create and grow resilient, productive workforces Adrienne Percival – founder of FlourishZone and AI Tech for Good – explains how this new reality will also be investigated in our up-coming webinar on the subject.

It may not feel like it at the moment, but humans are built to adapt.

We are programmed to respond to our environments and behave and perform accordingly. It’s why during this pandemic we are able to absorb, understand and respond to the information we are receiving. Even though that might be a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

HRs are undoubtedly some of the most flexible and adaptive people within any organisation, having to make major decisions based on limited knowledge while dealing with a myriad of different people and challenges. The mind of a senior HR pro would indeed be a good thing to map if we ever want to learn exercises in problem solving.

So, why do we expect HRs to have to cope with technology that is not as adaptive as they are?

It’s a question that has not been asked enough during the implementation phases of many in-house development and productivity programmes. Most are two dimensional, don’t move quick enough and are not able to cope with the predictable unpredictability that is the modern workplace.

This and a number of other complex problems has led to a £200bn cost of poor productivity, low wellbeing and a UK workforce lacking in resilience.

But recently, one of the world’s leading research and advisory groups Gartner released a report that could change the face of how we work together as people, as organisations and as society as a whole. And the timing really could not have been more prescient.

While this was pre-pandemic the figures are staggering. They estimated that In 2021, augmentation will create $2.9 trillion of business value and 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity globally.

Gartner defines augmented intelligence as: “a human-centered partnership model of people and AI working together to enhance cognitive performance. This includes learning, decision making and new experiences.”

Augmented intelligence – the ‘new’ AI – could be seen as something of a ‘next generation’ concept, but, in reality, it is the logical result of the development of artificial intelligence in itself.

For years, artificial intelligence has been feared as some Orwellian threat, designed to take jobs and replace humans until we live as slaves to the robots. But there has always been a fatal flaw in this argument – because humans built the technology. It cannot adapt and evolve past anything the human brain is capable of – by its very nature it is an extension of ourselves.

We have been given a window of opportunity at the moment to review our approach to how we work and what the technology can do for us. How can we look after each other better and make sure we are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy? How can we enhance and capitalise on creativity? How can we do all of these things to also ensure there is a level of productive output that is keeping the wheels turning?

These are no small matters and the world of work is unlikely to return to the previous methodologies and measurements when the pandemic has abated.

And some of the answers lie in how we develop this new augmented intelligence into our strategies, which I will be looking into further in future articles.

If you would like to find out more about this topic in the meantime you can register for our webinar in partnership with independent recruitment firm Sanderson on April 22nd at 11am. Sign up here.




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