Technology helping to remove human bias from the workplace, study finds

Dell report predicts how technology will shape offices of the future

Dell Technologies general manager for Ireland Mark Hopkins: ‘I think we sometimes we overplay the digital native card. It’s not just that generation, it’s all of us who are going to be continuing to work from 2030.’

Dell Technologies general manager for Ireland Mark Hopkins: ‘I think we sometimes we overplay the digital native card. It’s not just that generation, it’s all of us who are going to be continuing to work from 2030.’

 

Improved productivity, the removal of human bias from decision-making and improved collaboration are among the main benefits seen among business leaders from the increased use of technology in the workplace, a new study has shown.

The research was part of a global study by Dell Technologies and the Institute of the Future that looked at the future of work and how businesses can best position talent and workers to succeed in the world of 2030. The global study surveyed 4,600 business leaders, including those in Ireland.

“The pace of change that we’ve seen in the last five years continues to accelerate. The research brings that into focus as to what’s going on,” said Mark Hopkins, Dell Technologies general manager for Ireland. “It’s kind of hard to predict what’s happening in a year or two’s time, so to try to make sense of that, looking out to 2030 to try to bring some of those changes, and all those changes that are interacting with each other, and how individuals and businesses are responding to that in terms of trying to plan out to 2030 was probably the most interesting bit [of the research].”

Inspiration

“People do need help: 60 per cent of leaders are thinking 60 per cent of their staff are going to need to be technical experts by 2030, some of the stats around that really bring that inspiration and help get people thinking about some of the challenges that lie ahead on how to get the benefits of the technology opportunity.”

The study found that 67 per cent of business leaders expect that new technology will allow them to remove human bias from decision-making, creating more equal opportunities in the workplace and providing for greater human-machine collaboration.

However, the use of AI and other technologies to remove bias has its own issues, with fears that a lack of diversity in those developing the technology would lead to unconscious bias in the end result.

“The more diverse developer community you have developing those types of technology, then the more diverse output you’re going to get from that. And it’s the same with the data sets as well,” Mr Hopkins said.

“So there’s a huge opportunity for that technology, but there are dilemmas and challenges to overcome: the bias, whether it’s conscious or unconscious, that is absolutely part of it but there are ways to make sure that you don’t go down that road – wider data sets, wider diverse populations of people developing the applications.”

The possibilities to improve productivity are uppermost in business priorities, with 86 per cent saying they would use emerging technologies to improve workforce productivity.

More than half of business leaders said the ingrained digital skills and mindset of the next generation of workers would disrupt their workforce.

Continuous learning is also a feature of the future, with 85 per cent of business leaders expecting people to continually learn new skills in-the-moment as the pace of change accelerates.

Evolution

“It’s a bit like the transformation versus evolution and continual evolution. If you look at the period of time, certainly in the last five years, in the beginning, you know, that has gone through a bigger evolution than we have seen in the previous decades, I think that’s going to continue to accelerate,” Mr Hopkins said.

“I think we sometimes we overplay the digital native card. It’s not just that generation, it’s all of us who are going to be continuing to work from 2030 or live, because it doesn’t just affect your life, it affects your social life and everything that we do.

“Sometimes you need to stop and take a step back and just look at how much has changed in the last five to 10 years, extrapolate that out to 2030, which ultimately, is what we’re trying to do to help people prepare for the skills agenda.”

Although there will be a shift in the workplace of the future, most people think that will be positive. Some 83 per cent said the way they collaborate and work will be transformed for the better by emerging technologies

However, key to that will be preparation, with Mr Hopkins saying industry, government and academia would all have a role to play if Ireland wanted to continue to be develop.

“We’ve been pretty good in this country about attracting talent, pushing forward our educational skill base, and using that to grow our domestic economy as well as attract foreign multinationals here,” he said. “But that’s not gonna be good enough,we have to continue to evolve. I don’t think that’s different to Ireland.”