Prepare for Innovation’s Impact on HR and the Future of Our Work

Technological advances are occurring at an astonishing rate. In my lifetime alone, we’ve witnessed staticky black and white televisions get replaced by wide- and flat-screened, 3D color TVs; and wall-mounted telephones with cords that tangled into knots shrink into untethered, wireless devices the size of our palms, allowing us to communicate and access information anywhere without having to lug heavy equipment or insert a quarter. But we have also witnessed “failures” in the application of certain technological breakthroughs. For instance, the Concorde, a supersonic jet that could reduce the 7-to-8-hour travel time from New York to London to 3 or 3.5 hours is now relegated to museums because of its emissions, near-deafening trail of ground-shaking, wildlife-threatening noise pollution, low passenger numbers, and high maintenance costs.

What lies ahead? Will it be a further blending of and blurring between physical and virtual worlds? Moving beyond what we now call virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, will I soon be able to descend into a potential rabbit hole of fully immersive sights, sounds, sensations and smells? Will I be able to soar on a heavenly plane through the cosmos unhindered by the frailties of my human frame to ‘experience’ flight and the exploration of our universe? How far will innovation go and how will we use it to our benefit, or, conversely, our Promethean downfall? We already have fax-like mechanisms that take digital instructions and miraculously manufacture them into 3D objects. With the Concorde out of commission, when will I be able to beam my particles from Washington, D.C. to Austin, from New York to Los Angeles, or from New York to London, thus sparing my painful back from grueling, traditional air travel? Will we have the wisdom and security measures to govern this type of travel once it comes? For example, we wouldn’t want a curious five-year-old to beam inside the cute polar bear exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, would we?

Do some of these scenarios strike you as far-fetched? Well, think again. As a child I used to watch reruns of an animated TV show called The Jetsons in which the characters would converse with each other over large audiovisual screens, a forerunner for today’s videoconferences. We had no such real-time see-and-hear methods widely available fifty years back and the incredible things we saw on The Jetsons and Star Trek (1960s) all seemed to most of us like unrealistic dreams. Flash forward to today, and now almost any one of us can participate in Skype calls, videoconferences, and even live holograms if we can afford to produce them. What about robots? We knew they’d come eventually and now artificial intelligence (AI) has gotten to the point where experts say AI software and hardware tools can serve a business purpose reliably. And they do.

AI in Human Resources

For human resources and HRIS professionals, technological innovation has been the theme at this week’s HR Tech World London conference, with some of the greatest minds in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other innovative tech fields demonstrating on stage and in the exposition areas how these technologies can affect the future of our work. Inspired by the exciting promise of AI and automation performing jobs deemed too unhealthy, boring or expensive for our human hands and minds (but also by AI’s potential toll on human jobs), Lumesse, a global HR SaaS provider, brings you its latest white paper, “AI and VR in the Talent Management/Talent Acquisition Landscape.