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Sunday, 25 February

Blade Runners

Managers are not prepared for the moral questions that rapidly advancing technologies pose, according to a roundtable held at Nyenrode Business Universiteit recently.

The roundtable concluded that, with large numbers of employees set to lose jobs to AI and robotics technologies, only responsible leadership can manage these changes effectively, both societally and environmentally.

Present were 24 managers of prominent, ethically responsible Dutch firms, as well as 24 students from seven Dutch universities.

Bob de Wit, Professor of Strategic Leadership at Nyenrode Business Universiteit and organiser of the event, said: “Advancements such as AI, robotics and big data will be the catalysts for a societal revolution. As businesses increasingly adopt them, huge numbers could lose their jobs, affecting both work and economic structures globally.

“It is likely that the new jobs that these technologies create will be high-skilled and too few in number. And when every economy relies on its citizens having income, once these job losses start hitting – purported by consulting firm, CBRE, to be half of professional jobs by 2025 – then spending will stop, taxes will plummet and the economy will suffer.

“Although every business wants to keep up with the digital revolution, cutting corners ethically could result in far worse consequences for us all.”

Without commitment to responsible leadership, sectors such as oil and energy could harness tech advancements to protect their interests at great future cost.

De Wit says: “Businesses, societies and governments are not fully prepared for the speed of the advancements we are making in work-related technology. The next generation of managers need to prioritise ethical, social and environmental responsibility when making big decisions, perhaps even putting these above profit. The power tech affords us is immense but if misused, the consequences could be irreversible.”

 

According to a recent survey by global talent acquisition and management firm, Alexander Mann Solutions, 25% of senior HR professionals already use robotics in their HR or talent acquisition function.

However, despite the fact that over 70% of senior HR professionals believe that robotics will have a positive impact on their organisation over the next three years, figures from LinkedIn’s 2017 Global Recruitment Trends report reveals that internal teams are only investing 17% of their budget into new technologies.

Laurie Padua at Alexander said: “One in four senior HR professionals is already using robotics as part of their Talent strategies and over 70% of department leaders understand the benefits of utilising robotics and automation in their HR functions. Software automation holds significant opportunities for HR professionals, and can augment the repetitive tasks often inherent with talent acquisition, including data migration, sifting and aggregating. In fact, analysis shows that as much as 60% of recruiters’ time is devoted to sorting candidates, and that by automating the top of their funnel process recruiters can gain between three and five hours a day.

“These tools are not intended to eliminate the role of HR professionals, they are designed to relieve them from repetitive, often mundane tasks that consume valuable time which would be best spent leveraging their interpersonal skills and engaging with candidates.”

Nyenrode Business Universiteit is the only private university in the Netherlands. It has the motto ‘for business, by business’.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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