New Technology Not Entirely Helpful

smartphones. by Sam Churchill
Smartphones.  Photo courtesy of Sam Churchill.

Josh Bersin of Bersin Deloitte is expressing some skepticism about whether new technologies are actually delivering productivity improvements.  Allah D. Wright contributed this article for shrm.org describing Bersin’s comments at a speech in Hyderabad, India on April 20, 2017. Bersin spoke of the long-term impacts of technology on economic transformation.  He noted that historically technology has had very large impacts over time.  However, there are some downsides of new technology.  The average US worker spends 25% of their time reading or answering email.  The average mobile phone user checks their device 150 times per day.  Work is getting harder, with 40% of the US population believing that it is impossible to balance work and life.  Bersin asserts that it is not HR’s job to cause technology to succeed, but rather to pay attention to the way technology changes the way we work.

In my opinion, the major shift in the past decade has been the flood of incoming information.  The new emerging skill is the careful determination of what incoming information is useful.  Decision-making about which information is valuable needs to be diffused, or employees will simply be flooded.  This means that the new skill sets will be the assessment of information for relevance, taking pauses to reflect between waves of new developments, and the more cautious and deliberate composition of our own outgoing communications.  After all, if you’re just passing along high-volume spam and memes, you may be replaceable by artificial intelligence.

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