Who’s afraid of Artificial Intelligence ?

The single biggest challenge facing many of us today  is the rapid pace of change and innovation where a culture of workplace transformation is driving performance.

Our workplaces are more digitally driven with a greater reliance on digital technology. The rise of big data and analytics, the emergence of cloud computing , the greater use of smart devices and the emergence of artificial intelligence and robotics could all make us feel very threatened unless we can keep pace with this revolutionary level of change.

Technology has taken over many aspects of our lives as we become more reliant on their use to make our lives easier.For example many of us now regularly rely on Siri , Alexa , Bixby ,Cortana or Google Assistant in our respective smartphones to give us support and advice.

For those who are Millennials or  Generation Z the current pace of change may not be as challenging as for those of us who are Generation X or baby boomers or older. This digital revolution is not only changing the way we work; it is also driving change in workplace culture.

In leadership styles there is now a big trend towards a more authentic , human style of leadership which has replaced the more autocratic style of the past. Leaders need to adapt to new leadership styles by being more flexible and inclusive while delegating more autonomy to colleagues in the workplace. Good leaders now inspire rather than direct and are more transparent and engaging as their emotional intelligence allows.

Some of us fear that robots, automation and artificial intelligence will lead to job replacement as human work roles become obsolete to be replaced by technology-inspired, non-human robots, machines or other entities . It is now an undeniable fact that technology-driven innovations will certainly replace some roles and routine functions currently undertaken by humans who will need to re-skill and up-skill to take on new roles which robots could never do.

Unique human skills are just that; unique to humans. It is only humans who can show emotion and can use their emotional intelligence to support and inspire colleagues in the workplace. A good leader will inspire staff,  something a good robot can never do. Good listening and communication skills , empathy, trust, care and concern are human attributes which belong to us .

We can recognise the unique value of the person and we can deal with emotional and human relations issues which could not be replicated by any artificially intelligent robot or entity. I doubt if a robot could inspire us in the way that a good, trusted  human leader can.

I believe that people are our most valuable asset and we need to ensure therefore that people have the skills to master technology rather than technology mastering them. Education and training  are now priorities for employers operating in a more complex global business landscape. Investment in learning and coaching is as important as investment in technology.

Leaders are now coaches focused on talent development and management. Good leaders will develop and enhance their own skills and those of their colleagues in the workplace.  Their is no other option if we want to keep pace with today’s unprecedented level of change.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act , but a habit – Aristotle.





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