Are you ready for the new world of AI?

Now is the time for HR and L&D professionals to start preparing for the advent of artificial intelligence

China has set its sights on being the world’s artificial intelligence (AI) leader by 2030 in its Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan. It is already far advanced into the fourth industrial revolution and AI.

The target for some UK organisations to be proficient in AI is 2020 – just three years from now. Some, of course, are already operating and using AI. Others are way off the pace.

It will roll forward from there as AI capabilities advance. Yes, start now and you may have an inkling of the impact by 2020, or perhaps not. We just wondered.

Does the organisation you work for have an AI plan? Is your industry planning this far into the future? Do you, and the other people in L&D, know about AI – what it can do, and how it might be used?

Has your organisation’s board talked to its L&D team about the skills, knowledge and behaviours that targeted departments will need, and how that may change the organisation’s operations and structure, and what learning will be required so that you and your colleagues can be preparing to face the new opportunities and challenges? It would be easy to play the ‘wait and see’ game but without preparation you will not be able to fulfil your role of ensuring that the employees in the organisation will be at least ready for the change wrought by AI.

Do your HR and L&D team have a focus on the acquisition of talent that may be necessary, the likely legal issues, cybersecurity and data confidentiality concerns, and liaise with universities? Do they understand the impact AI will have on jobs – where and who will do them? 

Which of your present employees will be affected? What will they need to know and how might their jobs change? How will some of them be redeployed and prepared for new or changed jobs, both within and outside your organisation? Have you got an awareness programme for managers and professionals?

If you start thinking about AI’s impact now, you may just about be ready for 2020. Or not – it’s up to you.

Barry Johnson is a non-executive director at Learning Partners