GSBS6040 Human Resource Management
PBL Exercise 2: Case study
“How can we design systems that don’t leave people behind”
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You are the Human Resources (HR) manager for a large organisation that employs over 1500 people.
The board of the organisation has recently decided to investigate the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) to support a number of human resource management (HRM) processes. The board has identified that the existing semi-automated payroll system, whilst adequate, could be improved by the introduction of technology. The board would also like to examine other areas of HRM processes that could benefit from AI, including answering employee questions on various HR topics such as employee benefits; replacing a range of mundane administrative tasks (for example, leave arrangements) and supporting recruitment and selection activities.
You have been asked to conduct research into the use of AI in HRM, and provide a briefing paper to the next
Board meeting to assist them in their decision-making regarding the introduction of AI. In particular, the Board is interested in the benefits and risks to the organisation on the introduction of AI. They also are interested in the implications for the workforce if such technology were to be adopted.
You keep up-to-date with current HR issues through various media, and have noted a number of large national organisations such as the National Australia Bank are moving to automation. A recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website article set out some of the implications of the use of AI in HRM: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/how-canartificial-intelligence-work-for-hr.aspx
In addition, you have just read an article on the ethical implications of the adoption of AI (see attached). From what you have read to date, you understand that the introduction and use of AI is a complex issue. You are mindful that you need to provide the Board with a report that provides an informed consideration of their identified issues.
Consider the benefits and risks to the organisation on the introduction of AI in its HRM processes. Your consideration should include implications for the workforce if such technology were to be adopted. From your research, identify and discuss three key issues that address the Board’s request for information.
Present your findings in the form of a briefing paper, structured according to an essay format. The briefing should comprise an introduction and the ‘scoping’ of the problem. It should then provide substantive content that reflects depth and breadth of research as well as practical understanding of the problem, and critical analysis of the issues in presenting solutions to the problems. A conclusion should draw together the identified issues, analysis and solutions.
‘We have to design for the human in mind’: putting ethics into AI
Medical students are trained with the famous Hippocratic Oath in mind – first, do no harm.
Kriti Sharma, artificial intelligence technologist and inventor, would like her industry to adopt a similar oath – to first, -do no evil-. Sharma, vice-president of bots and AI at accounting software company Sage, is a vocal advocate for ethics in AI – and for the human experience to be at the centre of technology design.
-When we build AI systems we have to design for the human in mind from the beginning – how the human will feel in the equation,- she says.
Kriti Sharma, vice-president of bots and AI at accounting software company Sage, is a vocal advocate for ethics in AI.
London-based Sharma, who will speak in Sydney this week at the World Congress of Accountants, created the world’s first personal chatbot for business finance – a gender neutral bot called Pegg.
She was also behind Sage’s Ethics of Code, a series of statements that includes that -AI should reflect the diversity of the users it serves-, -that AI must be held to account along with its users-, and that -technology should not be allowed to become too clever to be accountable-. -It’s absolutely very important to be transparent about technology – and also be open about how good it is,- Sharma says. -Quite often [this] could be exaggerated.-
The AI world is awash with tricky ethical issues – many of which are only starting to be considered. For example, Sharma flags concerns that AI is adopting prejudices and negative stereotypes from its creators – which is why, she says, the industry needs a more diverse talent pool.
She is critical of technology that tries to blur or conceal whether a user is dealing with a fellow human or a bot, a practice that she says risks undermining privacy of users and trust in AI. Then there’s the case of selfdriving cars – designed, she says, without first thinking about the experience of the humans who would actually be sitting in them.
Sharma applauds the UK’s recent establishment of a Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, to consider the ethical issues thrown by AI and automation. Governments and policy makers have a -huge role- in setting standards for the industry, and in helping ensure the workforce has the skills needed for the so-called fourth industrial revolution, she says.
A year ago, National Australia Bank announced it would cut 6000 jobs over the next three years, partly because automation would be replacing some of the work done by people. At the same time, it flagged plans to hire 2000 more people with technology skills. It was the most visible example so far of the massive change coming to the Australian workplace, with a 2015 study from the Office of the Chief Economist finding that 44 per cent of Australian jobs are highly susceptible to automation.
There have been calls for government subsidies for retraining of workers who lose their jobs to automation, and an industry-wide plan for finance sector workers, whose union has warned that they may be -left behind- by the big changes to come.
Sharma is concerned AI’s benefits may have an unequal impact on society.
She is often asked by companies to talk about -who are the people we need to hire in the future-. But she says businesses need to look more at re-skilling existing staff.
-For us to be able to embrace this we need to invest in re-skilling the existing workforce, as well as the younger generations who are in the education system,- she says. -[There is a] huge opportunity to re-skill existing employees.-
Williams, R (2018) ‘We have to design for the human in mind’: putting ethics into AI, The Age, 7 November, https://www.theage.com.au/business/workplace/we-have-to-design-for-the-human-in-mind-putting-ethicsinto-ai-20181104-p50duo.html sourced 5 January 2019.