The CIPD recently hosted a roundtable on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at work, bringing together expert thinkers, policymakers and HR leaders from a range of organisations, as well as representatives from government, trade unions, specialist and professional bodies, academics and legal experts.
CIPD’s Peter Cheese, Chief Executive, and David D’Souza, Membership Director, hosted the discussion which looked at the implications of AI on the world of work and how organisations and the people profession should respond.
Developments in AI are accelerating fast, and organisations should consider where and how they will adopt such technologies, keeping risks and ethical considerations at the forefront of any use.
AI redefining work
With AI in the workplace becoming increasingly common, the discussion at the CIPD roundtable focused on identifying the largest areas of impact in both the short and long-term. Participants pointed out that AI is dramatically altering the employment landscape, acknowledging the scale and pace of change and how this will affect skills and jobs. The question of whether employers should be considering a jobs evolution rather than a revolution was also raised, as well as discussion around how organisations prevent the disproportionate impact on society if, for example, job losses potentially affect those on lower incomes to a greater extent.
Generative AI and employment relationships
Another key point of discussion was how the use of generative AI in organisations is impacting individual employment relationships and the guidelines, tools, policy and law that need to be in place to ensure it has a positive impact. There was broad agreement that AI is not currently regulated safely, which could have negative impacts on the workforce, for example, through AI systems causing risks of discrimination through biased data selection. The discussion turned to accountability and the need to be transparent and be able to explain the process – if it can’t be determined how AI made a decision, employees won’t trust it.
Impact on skills
The roundtable discussion also delved into the longer-term implications of AI on skills and the demand for different expertise and knowledge. It was acknowledged that AI has the potential to both augment and displace jobs, and that this will look different depending on the industry, sector or role. It was noted that there should be a review of education to ensure teaching within schools and higher education settings aligns with the skills requirement of the future workforce.
Following the roundtable, the CIPD aims to develop and present some guiding principles for the people profession and will continue to engage with government and policymakers in shaping regulations and best practice for the use of AI at work.
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