John McCarthy, who invented the name “Artificial Intelligence”, noted that the definition of specialized AI is always changing. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be defined as the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. The processes that are simulated include machine learning, training, and self-correction. In Human Resources, AI is being used to make its processes faster or more reliable. Talent and Acquisition is the most affected area when it comes to AI including remuneration and training. The Fourth (4th) industrial revolution which has brought about artificial intelligence, where life has been consumed by digitalisation has brought a lot of tension and uneasiness to job security. Many people are afraid that AI will bring with it job losses by making current jobs to be absolute.
Many are exposed to AI but are not aware of it for instance if you have used any social media platform then you have been subject to AI already. These platforms use machine learning which is a part of AI, that enables the machine to interact with a human and improve from each encounter. This is quite characteristic of the 4th industrial revolution and unlike former industrial revolutions, even the esteemed ‘white-collar’ jobs are being made redundant. The changes are occurring all across the globe including developed countries. Every technological revolution means that there will be a shift in employment. Others will lose their jobs, on the other hand, new jobs will also be created. We can’t stop unemployment but individuals can make themselves marketable by acquiring new modern skills. The impact of technology is already being felt in job markets around the world including in Africa. The change can be brutal, hence the need to apply skills learned from the third revolution. New skills were needed but people could not acquire them fast enough. Even so, the new jobs introduced on the market could not compare to the number of jobs that were being lost.
In Zimbabwe HR expert leaders agree that artificial intelligence is key to the future. Artificial intelligence is a reality hence work style has to change as we embrace the digital transition. The Econet Global Group has announced from Accra Ghana their partnership with American startup, Atlas AI. The announcement was made by Econet’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Strive Masiyiwa on the sidelines of the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). Deputy Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services Honorable Jenfan Muswere says Artificial Intelligence (AI) will accelerate Zimbabwe’s progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will be a key enabler in the transformation of economic policies. Taking strides in machine learning will help fast track development in Zimbabwe whilst harnessing cutting-edge technologies to improve outcomes for the marginalised.
Job losses are the biggest issue cited by antagonists of AI and to some extent, some jobs can be lost due to them being replaced by AI. However, as much as jobs can be lost, more jobs can be created. AI is actually opening up new jobs that never existed before. It’s possible that current jobs can be realigned to new AI-driven operating environments. Artificial intelligence has also streamlined many human resources processes. These sophisticated computer programs excel at recognizing patterns, planning and adapting in ways that mimic human thought. In Human Resources AI can sift through thousands of applications faster, it increases retention rates and productivity by helping in the hiring of more qualified candidates. AI reduces hiring bias, streamlines employee onboarding, and helps employers craft job descriptions. It improves employee engagement and builds better relationships ultimately it helps you save time which is a very important resource to any organisation or economy.
Regardless of all the benefits that are afforded by AI Human Resources still needs people. AI is particularly beneficial at tasks that rely on data processing and pattern recognition, completing these functions faster and more efficiently than human beings can. This makes AI a valuable tool for automating and digitalising many aspects of HR. However, the “human” aspect of human resources can never be neglected because of the shortfalls that AI has. These include making the final hiring decisions, to finding creative ways to keep workers engaged. HR leaders or management are aware and know their employees and their organization in ways AI software doesn’t and might never be able to. AI is a tool that can give HR personnel more time to get to know employees, shape company culture and address issues that crop up. Conclusively, the presence of AI is undeniable but cannot completely make humans redundant in the area of work. The most important action is to accept the change, learn and adapt because change is ever-present.
Evelyn Gumiso Nyahando is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: [email protected] or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com
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