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AI Is Nothing to Fear

We should encourage our employees to experiment with generative AI and show them that it’s just another tool at their disposal—one that can make their lives easier.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP

Adapt or die. While this may initially sound like a formidable proposition, when we stop to consider it, we realize that’s exactly what we, and the generations who preceded us, have been doing our whole lives. The invention of the wheel turned horseback riding into leisure and sport. Electricity made candlelight little more than ambience. The radio replaced the telegraph, which replaced carrier pigeons and messengers. And the internet made obsolete … well, more things than I could list here.

We laugh at some of these bygone methods. Of course, no one would miss the carrier pigeon, right? But if you put yourself in the shoes of your 19th-century predecessors, you might find you have more in common with them than you thought. With the use of pigeons for commerce, navigation and even war, pigeon trainers, known as pigeoneers, must have feared how their jobs would be affected as the telegraph came on the scene. But their fear didn’t keep the telegraph, and later the radio, from becoming integral parts of society.

Two hundred years later, we find ourselves in a similar spot, many of us dragging our feet and wanting to hang on to our era’s equivalent of the carrier pigeon when the grand new world of artificial intelligence is at our fingertips, waiting to be explored.

If there is one aspect of the advance of AI that all parties agree on, it is this: Generative AI will bring dramatic change. In fact, the magnitude of its expected impact is precisely why many fear its adoption. Just as the internet swept in and changed the way we operate as a society, so will AI, despite our reservations. But the adoption of this technology does not have to be feared.

As HR professionals, we have a huge opportunity, and also the responsibility, to help our employees stay competitive in this ever-evolving world of work. We must provide specialized trainings; support reskilling, upskilling and cross-skilling by subsidizing continued education; and provide access to generative AI and encourage our employees to start experimenting with it.

We have to lead the way in normalizing use of this technology and showing employees how AI is just another tool at their disposal—one that can make their lives easier by helping with monotonous and low-effort tasks.

I’ll leave you with something I’ve emphasized time and again: AI (artificial intelligence) plus HI (human intelligence) equals ROI (return on investment). This has never been about eliminating humans—it is and should always be about making human beings more efficient and more effective as we continuously strive to make better workplaces for a better world. With the assistance of AI, and a little upskilling, we’ll be able to achieve more than our predecessors could ever have imagined.  


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.