The time is now for talent development professionals to experiment with artificial intelligence, according to UMU founder and president Dongshuo Li and ATD President and CEO Tony Bingham.
In a June 29 UMU/ATD webinar, the leaders discussed the benefits and hesitations surrounding this new technology tool, and they both agreed that AI is not a fad and is a huge opportunity for the L&D field.
“Invest the time to learn as much as you can and apply that learning to your companies … Start small, get results, and communicate the success,” said Bingham.
An April 2023 survey by ATD’s Orange County Chapter in Anaheim, California, found that 57 percent of respondents had experimented with ChatGPT but only 16 percent had an AI learning strategy in their organizations.
“I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily because it’s early and we need to figure this out,” Bingham said. “The fact that we are thinking about AI and how to apply it is a good start.”
At the ATD 2023 International Conference & EXPO in San Diego, May 21–24, 17 of the 300-plus sessions were about AI, while there was only a handful of sessions on AI use at ATD22.
“AI is starting to evolve, and people are asking better questions and demanding better answers,” Bingham added.
“We’re seeing current uses around content curation, content creation, ChatGPT, translations, and virtual learning applications.”
The fear that AI is taking jobs away from humans is deterring some people from trying this new technology.
“There is a history in technology of that not being the case,” Bingham explained. “Yes, jobs change but we usually end up with more jobs available and more high-value jobs as a result of new technology.”
“I totally agree with that,” Dongshuo added. “AI will lower the barriers for a lot of different jobs but at the same time, it will definitely create other jobs and the need to upskill for those jobs will always be there.”
“AI should be looked at like any other tool—to augment and support us—not replace us. Reports that make it seem like we’re ready to outsource our intelligence to technology is one view,” Bingham explained. “But this view assumes that AI and humans have the same capabilities, and they don’t. AI is fast, is based on massive amounts of data, and is often more consistent, but AI is not intuitive, emotional, or culturally sensitive. It has a hard time understanding what the goal is and whether the responses are achieving that goal.”
Dongshuo agreed, adding, “This is a paradigm shift. When we have this shift, we should not just do the same. We should boldly allocate the budget as an early bird strategy. The early bird will definitely catch the rewards of AI. People will not simply be replaced by AI but the people who will not adopt AI will be replaced by the people who use it.”