The recent advancement of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies has taken global markets by storm, with many of the things once confined solely to the screens of Hollywood movies now becoming integral parts of our everyday lives. Virtually no industry has skated by the past few years without suffering from some of the disruption brought about by AI, particularly HR, and many working HR professionals are beginning to worry about whether their career field is ready for the coming AI surge.

So, is HR unprepared for the forthcoming AI surge? As you’ll come to see, many departments are taking the necessary steps to thrive in tomorrow’s marketplace, but too many HR professionals are failing to pay enough attention to the algorithms that could soon come to replace them.

AI is growing, and it shows no signs of stopping

Everyone seems to understand that innovative progress in developing new artificial intelligence applications has been skyrocketing in recent years, but few people really appreciate just how much money is currently being poured into the development of smarter machines. Venture capital investment into AI more than doubled from 2016 to 2017, for instance, and that’s only the start; the next few years alone will see untold billions more poured into the development of complex algorithms capable of automating previously human-centric tasks, and HR departments won’t be insulated from the economic disruption likely to be felt from the widespread adoption of this new technology.

The huge sums of money being poured into machine learning processes rightly have some HR professionals; after all, doesn’t more spending towards AI necessarily mean that more complex machines capable of automating more complex task will soon be upon us? While it’s unlikely that droves of HR employees will be suddenly and irreversibly thrown from their workspaces, it goes without saying that mundane, entry-level tasks and other easily-automated task will soon be done entirely by computers.

HR professionals thus far have seriously dropped the ball when it comes to preparing for this wave of automation; HR managers currently report that they waste up to 14 hours per week on tasks that could be easily automated, for instance, demonstrating how little attention and money is being paid towards retrofitting today’s HR departments to meet the forthcoming tide of robots. To succeed in the AI-defined future, HR departments need to start emphasizing IT skills more, and begin developing creative skills that can’t be easily replaced by a machine.

Perhaps the most egregious way many HR managers are letting their departments down is by refusing to loop their IT team into their AI-preparation process. Newly emerging technologies are incredibly complex, and while most HR professionals are savvy individuals with good heads on their shoulders, they can’t be expected to master new, confusing technologies overnight. For that, they’ll need the help of their firm’s IT team, and such coordination with other company employees can only be accomplished if managers okay and guide the entire process.

The future doesn’t have to be bleak

Despite HR’s unpreparedness for the coming surge in AI across today’s leading industries, the future doesn’t necessarily have to be bleak; by taking the rise of the robots seriously, and deftly investing their money in automating solutions that help them cut cost while boosting their department’s productivity, today’s HR managers can turn things around and ensure a happy, productive future for themselves by providing good financing options for cosmetic surgery. To do that successfully, however, those managers will need to understand the myriad of ways that artificial intelligence is changing how people are managed in the workplace, which means they need to start doing their homework on the role of AI in the modern office.

If you’re an HR manager who’s worried that you don’t have the resources necessary to outfit your department with the tools needed for success in the 21st century, don’t be afraid to approach your superiors about your funding concerns. Arrive to a meeting with your higher ups equipped with the facts illustrating how much other companies are splurging when it comes to AI, and you’ll likely develop a more compelling argument that convinces them they need to start retrofitting their own operations, lest they fall behind the competition.

Above all else, HR managers can’t afford to panic; the AI surge will be incredibly disruptive to the HR industry, but new technological developments are virtually always a net-positive, and it stands to reason that the productivity benefits gained from the employment of intelligence machines in today’s workspaces will outweigh the minor costs, like the loss of some entry-level employees to automation. Keep your eye on the long term, and remember how vital machine learning has become towards success in today’s leading HR departments, and you’ll be well equipped to survive and thrive in the AI-dominated future we’re rapidly hurtling towards.

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