In Josh Bersin’s latest focus on generative AI in business, his team spoke with over 200 clients about their current relationship with this technology.
Josh shared that the excitement is overwhelming but the actual understanding of this technology is very low.
“First, about a third of the HR leaders and professionals we talked with are still figuring out what this is. They’re not sure how these things work, they’re confused about the proliferation of LLMs, and they haven’t come to grips with the complexities of “prompt engineering” yet.”
This matches data from my own report in the L&D world.
130 L&D teams took part in the State of Generative AI in L&D report.
64% of those teams said their understanding of AI ‘needs work’. It looks like that understanding needs to move at pace as 71% told me they’re currently exploring or implementing generative AI tools into their tech stack.
In sum, there’s a lot of potential for this technology but little understanding.
The understanding piece I can solve quickly with this explainer on Generative AI. Don’t worry, no fluff or tech speak in this. Just simple, straightforward facts.
How can you use Generative AI in your tech stack (should you?)
With all the excitement and hype about this tech.
It’s hard to know if and how you should use it.
In an ideal world, you would ignore the market expectations. That’s hard with a technology impact of this magnitude. It’s similar to when Apple unveiled the first iPhone and created apps. You had to have it.
You weren’t always sure why back then, especially as little use cases existed for the small library of applications. Years later that became much clearer.
HR and L&D teams are at the same place today.
Everyone in the world let alone your business is high on the generative AI stimulant.
Many operators I speak with feel insecure that they don’t know enough about the topic to converse with their business. It’s hard, I understand.
Tech moves so fast, you’ve always got to move faster.
Aside from the understanding piece. Anything you bring into your HR and L&D tech stack needs to have a purpose. It needs to solve a problem. This is the mindset to have when assessing how and if you should use generative AI tools in your ecosystem.
I believe generative AI will replace more tasks than it does jobs.
Some jobs will change or cease to exist, no doubt. Yet, new jobs will rise too. Did you know any social media managers before social media exploded in the late 00’s? Hopefully, you get my point.
Let’s focus on identifying the tasks generative AI could support in your workplace.
The Generative AI task assessment framework
In my work, what we’re doing to research the roles of the future with generative AI is understanding what tasks it could replace and or support.
Based on this, we’re identifying the common skills needed to do those tasks.
The question then becomes whether current generative AI standards replace those entirely or only partly. If partly, what % and how much human interaction is needed?
Looking at this from a task lens (vs jobs) enables companies to evaluate where they can:
- Best utilise humans
- Simplify time-killing processes
- Get a clear view of the skills needed for org performance
Generative AI will replace some tasks and thus jobs, but it will also create new ones.
In new ones, you could simplify time-killing processes. You might work on the training data a Large Language Model (LLM) is fed. This might consist of quality checks, reducing code hallucinations etc.
Ryan proposed we stop looking at jobs as titles, and rather a collection of tasks. These tasks will evolve as AI and other technologies do. He recommends you unpack your job into the main tasks you do daily.
You can bucket those tasks in this format:
- Tasks AI can fully take on for you, like summarising meeting notes or email chains.
- Tasks AI can help improve your work and efficiency, like help writing code or content.
- Tasks that require your unique skills – your people skills – like creativity and collaboration.
You can turn this set of questions into a simple table to assess the tasks in your business.
Based on your outputs, you can decide where and how to use generative AI tools in your tech stack.
Randomly adding an AI tool with no purpose is not going to help anyone in your business. If you’re clear on the problem (or tasks) it can solve then this will provide the performance outputs so many crave.
These are the same decisions we have with any technology and tasks.
Do we augment or do we automate tasks?
Augmentation = Supports and improves human decision-making and actions with technology
Automation = Completely replaces human decision-making and actions with technologySource
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