What if decision-making positions are replaced by AI?
The fear that robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) could replace humans isn’t recent. According to an Oxford University study, published in 2015, 45 % of jobs will be done by computers in 2035. This rate will certainly keep increasing in the future.
We already know robots will replace us in all repetitive and painful jobs, such as manual jobs in factories. Because of its efficiency and reliability, AI will increasingly continue its development in more intellectual jobs such as analysis or calculation. HSBC announced recently a 10 000 jobs layoff in Europe and this is also the case of many other banks. Today, we have to understand that AI is a potential innovation for all sectors of activity, even human resources or other decision-making jobs.
What would the world with decision-making AI look like ?
On March 23rd 2019, a study made by Microsoft and KRS Research in eight countries (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Swiss, Great Britain, USA) on the basis of 800 leaders’ statements, showed that during the next three years, 93 % of high growth companies intend to invest in decision-making AI. In this study, the company wants especially to reassure us: AI is not about to replace decision-makers in all of their tasks but it will only become a “complement” at work. That is why Microsoft calls this type of leadership “augmented leadership”.
Indeed, AI would give decision-makers more time to care about capital gain and useful tasks. It will also increase their skills. This evolution, according to a recent French report published by CEREQ in 2016, is even more true today, whereby the new generation prefers job satisfaction rather than a good and well-paid position. Still according to Microsoft, paradoxically, decision-makers assisted by an Artificial Intelligence would be “more human”; as Professor Hinke Bruch said:
AI will make good leaders, less busy and even more human
Therefore, we have to adapt society and labor for these evolutions. First of all, it is important to set up trainings to understand and use AI better in every sector of activity. For instance, this is the purpose of the AI Business School, created by Microsoft. Moreover, the AI development has to be legally framed to avoid misuse. Recent revelations about work conditions in human-in-the-loop machine learning and AI companies such as Figure Eight (now Appen), showed that workers don’t have any labor contract and are underpaid.
Finally, AI still needs improvement. Last year, Amazon tried to replace the human resources preliminary screening of work applications by Artificial intelligence. Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) machine-learning specialists uncovered bias against women. In fact, the algorithm used the method of “reinforcement learning”, which made a selection on the basis of pre-existing data in the company, noticed a low amount of female workforce in Amazon and interpreted that being a woman is a flaw for the company.
All these new challenges have to be taken into account by everyone for the years to come.
 Centre d’études et de recherches sur les qualifications: French public institution that conducts studies in the fields of the labor market and qualifications
 “Branch of artificial intelligence that leverages both human and machine intelligence to create machine learning models” (Figure Eight definition)