Emerging technologies are a definitive factor for human-machine partnerships in the future, according to Jocelyn Macedo, VP of HR for Dell Technologies Asia Pacific & Japan, who said there are three key technology trends that will shape and define new work environments through to 2030.
Macedo was commenting on recent research which was conducted by Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future, an independent research group based in California, which found that the work and learning environments of 2030 are already being shaped by the technology trends of today.
The three technology trends are:
Inclusive talent. Human and machine partnerships will create more equitable workplaces by evaluating candidates based on their capabilities, rather than gender, age or class.
Empowered workers. Employees will collaborate in entirely different, immersive ways using technologies such as XR, empowering workers more than ever before.
AI fluency. AI will complement and augment human capabilities rather than replace them, and a deep understanding of AI and human and machine systems will unlock human potential and set workers apart.
The research explored how technologies such as collaborative AI, multimodal interfaces, extended reality (XR), and secure distributed ledgers could change the congruence between humans and machines, while simultaneously enhancing collaboration within organisations.
Implications for HR
“Advances in deep learning, AI and machine learning will help HR leaders in a number of ways,” said Macedo.
“They will reduce bias in candidate vetting and evaluation; improve the process of connecting people to the right job, enable employers to identify skills and capabilities that may even be unknown to candidates; and VR and gamification will be used in recruitment and training processes, creating rich, interactive experiences.”
“Advances in deep learning, AI and machine learning will help HR leaders in a number of ways”
HR leaders will be able to utilise human-machine partnerships to make it possible to find and match people’s unique capabilities and compatibilities with the right role and create more equitable workplaces, Macedo said.
These technology trends are making discoveries by seamlessly matching the right candidate to the right position without any bias in age, gender, nor geographic location, as well as reinventing new ways in which humans and machines could work together.
There is also a growing movement to design work infrastructures that promote collaboration and reward contribution, and Macedo said new organisational structures will emerge over the next decade which decentralise decision-making and empower workers.
Future of work technology challenges
The research report, Future of Work: Forecasting Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Work in the Next Era of Human-Machine Partnerships, also found that 67 per cent of business leaders are looking to use new technology trends to remove human bias in decision-making.
“However, we must challenge the assumption that hiring managers know what constitutes an ideal employee,” said Macedo.
“It may be that many organisations don’t know what type of person with which combination of skills excels in their environment.
“To generate large, robust models, we will need more data about potential hires and on how past employees have performed.”
“We must challenge the assumption that hiring managers know what constitutes an ideal employee”
In response, organisations will need to be steadfast in ensuring their systems’ decision-making algorithms align with their values, and ethical practices will be essential to prevent biases and develop the tools to promote a shift toward inclusive talent.
Addressing the skills gap
There is also a significant digital skills gap, according to Macedo, who said that as worker evaluation practices change and new methods of discovering talent emerge, older generations may feel shut out of parts of the economy.
“A lack of familiarity with collaborative platforms and working in networks may hinder the abilities of older workers to take full advantage of the human-machine partnerships of the future,” she said.
To address the digital skills gap, Macedo said organisations will need to be prepared to upskill experienced workers in new ways of working and learning.
As new workers conditioned to gaming and to the quick pace of change enter the workforce and rise in the workplace, seniority may count for less, the research observed.
Organisations will need to be prepared to upskill seasoned, experienced workers in new ways of working and learning, and the report said one way this may occur is through cross-generational or reverse mentoring, where younger colleagues advise on topics such as technology trends and change management.
The good news is, according to the Dell Gen Z: The future has arrived study, 85 per cent of Gen Z in Australia and New Zealand are willing to mentor a co-worker who may be less experienced with technology.
“If people are being compensated for their contributions and not for a fixed amount of time, how will workers’ rights and protections be upheld and enforced?”
Workers’ rights and protections
Technology trends will also challenge organisations to think about the role of national and local oversight over work arrangements.
If one of the objectives of a distributed organisation is to decentralise opportunity so that anyone qualified to accomplish a task – irrespective of where they live, HR leaders also need to look at potential labour policy changes.
“If people are being compensated for their contributions and not for a fixed amount of time, how will workers’ rights and protections be upheld and enforced?” the report said.
In certain countries, full-time employment is the means by which people receive financial protections for their individual and family’s healthcare, contributions to retirement pensions and guaranteed pay for sick or vacation time, among other benefits.
“Let’s say an emerging technology such as secure distributed ledgers grant people the ability to seamlessly create work agreements,” said the report.
“How then will people navigate the different laws and regulations associated with workers? How will they do so in a way that is fair to workers?”
In order to realise a more equitable future for work, the report suggested that governing structures will need to keep pace with these changing work arrangements.