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Can we find the balance between humans and AI - or the human face of AI?

What does AI have in store for 2024?In 2023, every event focused on the relationship between AI and humans, and the impact of AI on each other. From an HR perspective, the main theme last year was whether or not AI will take our jobs. How can humans retain their uniqueness in the workplace? Opinion piece by Krisztina Schubauer, internationally accredited business coach, organisational culture designer, communication and employer branding strategist.

Schubauer Krisztina, kommunikációs és employer branding stratéga-

As a whole, trends suggest that 2024 will be more about harnessing the potential of AI, such as workforce development and efficiency, automating routine and time-consuming tasks, facilitating decision making, or creating new AI-related roles and jobs. But let's look in detail at whether AI is a blessing or a curse?



What are we better at?



Let's start by looking at what we humans are better at. Let me start with an example. In the 1970s, a major breakthrough in computer chess occurred when computers began to compete against human chess players. Several studies were done at the time on the impact of the appearance of these chess machines on the problem solving and creativity of chess players, whether their appearance was a blessing or a curse. The end result of the research was that these machines encouraged even stronger creativity and problem solving in players and those who played with chess machines in preparation were able to perform much better in tournaments than those who prepared without machines.



In short, the first important thing that we are definitely better at for now is creativity and innovation, new ideas for new products, services and solutions cannot yet be reproduced by AI. If we have a technology that teaches us, collects information and organises it, it encourages us to be more creative. Closely related to this is that the human brain is endowed with flexibility, i.e. the creative problem-solving ability, which AI is not. Humans are social creatures, and work and the workplace are both arenas of our lives, based on the quality of social relationships. The importance of related skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, communication and social intelligence is not negligible and cannot be replaced by anything else for the time being. At the end of the day, being able to make decisions that are emotionally and ethically grounded is something that no one can take away from you yet either.



In summary, we must see that at the moment the role of humans is inescapable, the above are human resources where AI is still limited or underdeveloped, while in the world of work these unique skills are still key.

What can it help us with?



Collect for us an infinite array of choices and options, even out-of-box, i.e. considering completely different industries and topics that we would have neither the insight nor the ammunition to consider, all in a fraction of a second. This efficiency saves us a lot of time, energy and money, so that we can concentrate on more value-creating work. By analysing the data, we can quickly and accurately access findings from data sets of such magnitude that can support data-driven decision making and strategic planning.



The algorithm has a full range of personalisation capabilities, which can be used to the advantage of the marketing and sales area in terms of product and service messaging and offers, all of which contribute to a higher customer experience and loyalty. It can automate many tasks and processes where repetitive steps are repeated. In turn, it can foster innovation within the organisation, freeing up staff capacity to focus on creative problem solving and creating new things.



What we fear though



We now know what we are better at and we can see what AI can help us do. Yet there is still some fear and a number of dilemmas that cross our minds when the subject comes up, some of which are based in reality.



Yes, there may be jobs with routine and repetitive workflows that can be replaced by automation, i.e. the previous human resources are replaced by machines or software, in which case a preliminary job review should ensure that the worker is rotated into a new job or upgraded with other skills. The advent of technology can bring skills and capabilities - data science, machine learning, programming - that were not needed before, and it also means that the workforce needs to be equipped with these new skills, retraining and restructuring may be necessary. They need to learn to adapt to new technologies and learn to use them. All this change can lead to fear of the new within the organisation, which should be managed through change management, transparent communication, training focused on flexibility and resilience, and individual support to help employees adapt and learn more quickly.



Focus and opportunity



With regard to AI, the importance of preparation should be emphasised, everyone should be aware of what AI solutions that are intruding into their area of expertise are good for, how to manage and apply them, what the synergies are that can be exploited. It is worthwhile to start designing Data and AI-first strategies, involving disciplines such as HR. The role of professionals with a holistic vision is enhanced because they understand the business need and are also savvy to new technology. It is important to assess what jobs and skills AI opportunities will impact in our organisations and based on this, employers will need to invest significant resources - time, money, energy - in upskilling employees.



AI in HR processes



If we look at this topic as professionals, we can see that we can cover almost the entire employee lifecycle with AI solutions related to HR operational areas that make our daily work easier and more colourful.



Without being exhaustive, what can help the HR field with the AI solutions currently available on the market:



- Job search: AI can help job seekers find the most suitable job advertisement based on their individual preference, and even provide tips and advice during the application process.



- Recruitment and selection: pre-screening of candidates is automated, helping to analyse candidate data, making recruitment more efficient. In the case of video-recorded interviews, it helps in evaluating the candidate, analysing speech understanding, body language, emotional expressions in order to make a more objective decision during the selection process.



- Training and development: personalised learning and development recommendations based on an analysis of the employee's skills, interests and learning style. With just a few clicks, create your own in-house virtual and training simulation solutions where employees can learn specific skills.



- Performance appraisal: automatically generated individual feedback reports based on the analysis of data in the performance appraisal system.



- Well-being: sensors and data analysis can be used to accurately track employee health and well-being e.g. stress levels, exercise, sleep.



There are countless pro and con arguments for and against AI, and I'm sure many more dilemmas will arise as time goes on. It is worth not being scared or burying our heads in the sand. Rather, the most crucial question for the future will be whether the optimal collaborative balance between humans and AI can be found, the golden mean that lies within ethical norms, in the spirit of responsible employment, versus the best outcome for companies.



Schubauer Krisztina



nationally accredited business coach, organisational culture designer, communications and employer branding strategist




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