Augmented Intelligence will replace tasks, not jobs. Embrace the arrival of ‘Electronic People’ – with John Hansen, Oracle (TMA HK 2018)

Augmented Intelligence by John Hansen
John Hansen, Oracle

Probably the best insights we had from the Talent Management Conference at the end of April was from John Hansen at Oracle. He delivered a very up-to-date and eye-opening presentation on Augmented Intelligence and how we should embrace it rather than fear it – without neglecting the policies, legal statuses and risks that will emerge from it.

He started by defining AI as a collection of advanced technologies that allow machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn. Now, we hear the overused term “Artificial Intelligence”, but he shed light on “Augmented intelligence”: which, undeniably means, augmenting human workers with technology. It’s nice to read AI in a different format and comprising more optimistic terms. It definitely sounds more exciting than “Artificial Intelligence”- doesn’t it?

He continued by differentiating 2 existing types:
-Narrow: the state we are at today
-General: the state we are not yet at

Interestingly, he then defined IA: Intelligence Augmentation: which is a human worker who amplifies what they know by adding AI. Again, the terms John used are much more engaging and reassuring than what we usually come across to today.

As you can see, there’s a lot more to consider when discussing the term “Artificial Intelligence”. After defining the different existing terms, John explained the 4 forces driving AI.

1. 4 Forces Drive Augmented Intelligence:

1. Data growth
2. Domain and industry focus
3. Decision Science
4. Compute power

As he shared his insights in an HR-related context, he brought to light the different responsibilities and rights of “Electronic People”. (I loved this term.)

2. HR Policy Areas:

1.Company Policy
2.Legal Compliance & rulings
3.Candidate Shortlisting
4.Role recommendation

Now, we shouldn’t fear AI – but that being said, we still need to know how Augmented Intelligence can go wrong.

John explained that AI can go wrong in:

-Unexpected Responses

-Unintended Harm

-Unintended Damage

He wrapped this section up by questioning the public: are we ready for ownership/ employment contract/intellectual property/ harm and liability for AI? There are many things to consider.
More importantly – Are we ready to manage a blended workforce?

This is where John expressed his eye-opening insight, “Robots will replace tasks, not jobs.” At this right moment, perceptions changed.

3. Augmented Intelligence will replace tasks, not jobs

1.The automation of activities
2.Redefinition of jobs and business processes
3. Impact on high-wage occupations
4. Future of creativity and meaning

This led him to remind us the difference between a Job and a Task.

A job is a combination of related however different tasks – a task is a routine (or non-routine), manual or cognitive (or non-cognitive) activity. As you know, routine is biggest for AI. Routine means repetition, certainty, technical mastery.

John wrapped his very engaging and acute presentation by expressing that before even fearing AI, we need a new job and task definition. Let’s not get overwhelmed too quickly. Robotics and Augmented Intelligence will not replace our jobs… And instead of speaking “artificial”, let’s talk “augmented”!

Thanks John!

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