In conversation, KPMG's head of innovation, Shamus Rae and head of people and change, Tim Payne, discussed the impact of robotics and AI on the workforce with Brian Halpin, global head of automation at HSBC.
Rae began by outlining the three layers of robotics: “There’s basic process automation (RPA), which you’ll have in shared services today; virtual agents (such as chat bots); and then we get on to the deep learning, AI-type systems which we’re already building into audit and tax,” he said.
Halpin explained that RPA is simply software configured to replicate what people do every day: “Simple things like opening accounts, fraud monitoring, onboarding staff,” he said. “It typically starts with the idea of cost reduction, but it’s as much about customer experience improvement and risk reduction.”
Describing the impact of RPA on workforces, he added “you are genuinely freeing up people to do a more interesting, valuable job”, pointing out that AI creates new types of job, such as the ‘robot trainer’, where people configure robots to do the work they used to do to.
Payne closed the session by requesting advice for the HR community around use of robotics.
“HR operations shared services is a perfect use case for robotics, and RPA will be increasingly arriving at your door,” said Halpin. “The second thing is embedding technology into organisations; changing the behaviour of managers who are responsible for this new type of workforce. I suspect HR has a role in that.”