Editor's Note

Editor's Note

Hilda Rosca Nartea

The future of work has never been so present.

The very first days of 2017 were greeted with the following headlines: Sayōnara, Humans: Japanese Company Replaces Its Workers with AI (bigthink). Robots are now really stealing jobs as Japanese firm replaces staff with AI (thenextweb). Lest you think that the robots will be doing menial jobs, there’s this: Japanese white-collar workers are already being replaced by artificial intelligence (QZ). And just to remind us that this won’t be an isolated case, there’s also: U.S. workers beware: Japanese insurer to replace humans with A.I. (Computer World).

Machines taking over human work isn’t the stuff of science fiction, but a course of reality that has been going on for centuries. All throughout history, new inventions and technologies have made it possible to make tasks easier and faster through lesser human intervention.

Not too long ago, this typically happens for tedious operations that become more prone to human error as repetition increases. But with the great leaps in technology today, even work commonly seen as outside the realm of the machine is not so safe from robot takeovers anymore. As we learn in this issue’s Knowledge@Wharton section, two industries that rank high among those disrupted by digital developments are journalism and music – fields that deeply involve the practices of the humanities.

One takeaway from that is, technological growth has always been exponential but now it’s taking the express ride. If you sometimes feel that technology is accelerating too fast today, many experts are saying you’re right, it is. Even Sergey Brin of Google Brain, one the biggest spenders on machine learning, was surprised at how profound the AI revolution is going, “even though I was sitting right there.” And if you think that some aspects are still moving at snail-mail speed, then it most likely it is too. Did you know that the Agile Manifesto, created for software development but has inspired agile management practices across the globe, is turning 16 years old?

The sister takeaway of that is, the workplace, the future, and humans can’t be described in simplistic takeaways and click-bait headlines. Because studies also show that as technology takes away jobs, it has also been creating new jobs. Just think of the various positions or titles that you have heard of only in the past few years, and at the same time of the numerous workers displaced or marginalized due to imbalances created by these changes. As technology moves to a full speed, the social, political, cultural and philosophical questions it brings become much harder to answer.

In this Age of Surprise, the future of work is variable and predictable and impossible to accurately forecast. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity for HR, and so we continue to keep our senses and perspectives open and take as many lessons as we can along the way. This issue of The HR Agenda hopes to contribute to that journey of learning.

The future is just a room, waiting for you to open the door, to come in. See you there today.  



    Hilda Rosca Nartea is editor in chief of The HR Agenda. She heads the content team of a Dubai-based digital agency and is also a content producer for non-profit organizations, having done projects for the United Nations Development Programme under the Philippine Department of Energy. 


    Share this page:



    ---Media Partners---
    WSJ Asia Logo.jpg



    © 2007-2015. The Japan HR Society (JHRS). All Rights Reserved.  c/o HR Central K.K. (The JHRS Secretariat), 3-29-2-712, Kamikodanaka, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken 211-0053 JAPAN | Tel: +81(0)50-3394-0198 | Fax: +81(0)3-6745-9292 | Email Us. | Read our Privacy Policy.
    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software