Talent Management Challenges in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

Talent Management Challenges in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

Javier Martín Robles, Open Innovation

Javier Martín Robles

Open Innovation

August 1, 2023

Recent news regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) clearly indicates that this technology will transform the labor market and talent management. The impact on jobs will be significant, with an estimated 60-70% of positions affected. Professionals must understand how AI works, acquire specific skills, and strengthen abilities that cannot be replicated by technology. Regarding talent management, AI is already used in candidate selection, and there is a growing demand for engineering, data science, and other related profiles.

We explore these topics further in this interview with José Manuel de la Chica, Head of Technology, Tech Innovation, and Engineering and CTO for Santander Universities & Universia.

The million-dollar question: Will Artificial Intelligence destroy more jobs than it creates?

It's the million-dollar question, and it doesn't have a simple answer, although many are betting on finding one. Undoubtedly, AI as a whole, not just generative AI, will transform the labor market and significantly impact sectors where certain tasks can be highly automated by adding layers of intelligence. According to McKinsey, 60-70% of jobs could be impacted by generative AI, and while the exact percentage is uncertain, we agree that the impact will be high and widespread.

We will likely need to reimagine today's professional profiles to adapt to this new scenario. This decade could be a transition period between the old and the new.

I believe the change in the labor market will be more adaptive than disruptive. While some professions may be disrupted, others will emerge as the concept of “human-augmented” or “human-assisted” by AI becomes more established. We are already seeing new challenges

arise, such as the strike by actors in the United States who are seeking regulations for the use of AI within their profession. These challenges will also be present among teachers, creatives, programmers, authors, and others.

AI will also lead to the emergence of more multidisciplinary professionals who can tackle problems they were previously unqualified or ill-equipped to handle.

What three pieces of advice would you give to a professional looking to leverage the use of Artificial Intelligence?

My first piece of advice is to make an effort to understand AI deeply and grasp the fundamental concepts of how it works. It can be as simple as understanding the ABCs: what an algorithm is, what a training dataset is, what a model is, and how it is used and its limitations. We don't need to be experts, but having this foundational knowledge of the technology will enable us to use it critically and, above all, to separate the wheat from the chaff when reading about it.

I always say that the first step for someone unfamiliar with the subject is to take a break from talking about AI and instead focus on “machine learning” and truly reflect on what it means and its implications: learning is the keyword.

As a second piece of advice, professionals should equip themselves with skills tailored to their profiles to maximize the benefits of AI. This could involve learning to program in Python or using user-level tools to extract more value from their daily work. We need to bring AI closer to the reality and context of each professional, and approach the idea of being “professionally augmented” or assisted by AI to a greater or lesser extent.

Thirdly, enhancing skills, AI will find challenging (at least weak AI, which is what we currently work with) is crucial. For example, strengthening critical thinking, complex problem analysis, lateral thinking, or interdisciplinary thinking are the primary skills that AI can not fulfill. AI will enhance our ability to become more versatile and become generalist professionals who can distinguish ourselves from what machines can do for us.

By understanding what machines offer and staying up to date with AI-related advancements, we can creatively combine them for our own benefit or that of our organizations. This combination will be fundamental to successfully confront the paradigm shift that AI will bring to society and the economy.

How is Artificial Intelligence affecting talent management in companies?

The impact on talent management and human resources revolves around three key aspects. First, how companies search for their employees, with an increasing trend of using technological platforms for candidate selection, these platforms even analyze interviews to assist recruiters in finding the best and most suitable profiles. AI is becoming an essential decision-making tool for HR in the selection process.

The second aspect is the growing demand for professionals with knowledge and experience in engineering, data science, and more fields. This demand extends beyond STEM profiles to include computational linguists, behavior analysts, and more.

Lastly, in regard to employment, there is much work to be done related to upskilling and reskilling professionals who want to evolve their profiles or adapt to the current and future demands of companies. This evolution is also necessary for those who wish to acquire tools and knowledge to grow professionally and become competitive 2.0 professionals in the digital environment. For example, a lawyer could evolve into a “lawyer 2.0” by mastering the current AI tools at their fingertips. Moreover, they should be able to tackle the legal challenges brought by clients related to AI, such as responsibility, intellectual property, regulation, etc., and approach them in an AI-assisted manner (the aforementioned “professionally augmented”).

This paradigm shift entails new ways of selecting candidates, increasing demand for new types of jobs, and novel approaches to traditional work, all driven by AI.

What has surprised you the most in the last year regarding Generative Artificial Intelligence?

The speed of change and the low barrier to entry. You just need to enter a URL in your browser to use one of the world's most powerful AIs. Those of us involved in technology and innovation are trying to stay ahead of the future. We always talk about exponential change and the exponential speed of these changes, but witnessing it arrive so rapidly and with such an impact is a different story.

From a technical standpoint, it has been fascinating to see the wave of interesting and creative papers and experiments being released. I particularly found Meta's ImageBind intriguing. It is a holistic image analysis system capable of connecting a photo with the generation of sound, video, text, depth, and inertial movements that suggest imagination within the system itself.

How has your work changed in recent months with Generative Artificial Intelligence?

As you can imagine, the impact has been profound, extensive, fast, and affected multiple levels. We are working on different projects, from exploration and research to applying case studies that can greatly improve process efficiency and user experiences.

We are now more receptive to using generative AI in our technology, which is a positive development. As a result, we can now perform creative tasks much more efficiently and achieve better results. However, it is also crucial to emphasize the importance of being responsible professionals in all these actions. This means applying all the security, privacy, and risk control mechanisms that have been applied to conventional machine learning but now put greater emphasis on issues such as information privacy or risk management like prompt injection.

Can you think of ways this technology can help solve the problems faced by humanity, such as in relation to sustainability?

Although I am fascinated by generative AI due to its “creative” component that can create human-like experiences through language, I am more interested in predictive AI in relation to this.

Generative AI creates content based on prior knowledge but does not generate new knowledge. However, predictive AI can help address many of humanity's problems, from climate change to developing new materials, medicines, gene therapies, and more efficient energy production systems. The publication of AlphaFold by DeepMind in Nature was a turning point in demonstrating how AI can accelerate scientific discovery and societal progress.

I believe that artificial intelligence opens the door to expanding our human capabilities and generating useful knowledge, and this process will accelerate in the coming years.

If we do it right, we can enter a virtuous cycle where each technological advancement helps us achieve others. AI can be the accelerator we need to accomplish this in the next decade.

I’m unsure if, as Nick Bostrom said, “general AI will be the last thing humans will need to build.” Still, I believe it will greatly assist us in developing our history as a species, as long as we do things the way they should be done, with the utmost technical and scientific responsibility.

Javier Martín Robles, Open Innovation

Javier Martín Robles

Open Innovation

Javier Martín currently works as the Director of Open Innovation at SNGULAR, where he carries out various activities to foster the technological ecosystem, mainly through events and other dissemination initiatives. In recent years, he has specialized in disseminating and teaching technologies such as GPT in Artificial Intelligence. He has recently worked with companies like Caser and OKR, implementing goal management methodologies, assisting their implementation in companies such as Leroy Merlin.