Press Release

Talent Development Professionals Need to Embrace AI, Not Fear It


(Alexandria, VA) December 15, 2020—Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay, and talent development professionals need to embrace it. That is the key message in AI in Talent Development (ATD Press, December 2020). Author Margie Meacham, a neuroscience and learning expert, contends that learning and talent development professionals need to embrace the use of artificial intelligence to lead and grow their organizations and initiatives.

AI is already rooted in our daily existence and enhances our lives through automated customer service agents, the automation of repetitive tasks, and consumer shopping or product recommendations, among many other examples. Businesses continue to expand their investments in AI each year. In fact, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that businesses worldwide will be spending $77.6 billion on cognitive and AI systems by 2022.

The scope and urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the learning profession in the spotlight, underscoring how important AI is for advancing every aspect of work, including in the talent development (TD) area. From recruiting to training to compensation, AI is transforming the workplace and the role of talent development professionals.

Yet TD lags in its use of AI, perhaps because of ignorance and fears that automation may replace people with robots or bots. As such, replacement will likely occur for many functions, learning and TD professionals need to face AI head on and determine how to develop and work with it if they want to successfully reshape and grow their own roles and their organizations.

“AI is changing the way we learn, such as personalizing learning experiences based on individual student interests and progress, assessing organizational needs based on financial forecasts, and even delivering education directly to students in the place of a teacher,” explains Meacham. She urges learning professionals to “reboot themselves” with AI to become more productive. After a brief review of the evolution of AI, Meacham discusses use cases for helping people learn through chatbots, discusses how to make learning management systems smarter, and addresses ethical considerations of deploying AI.

“One thing working in the favor of the learning profession in this effort is that our work is founded on many of the same principles that drive AI,” says Meacham. “That’s because the science of learning and the science of building smart machines are actually part of the same multidisciplinary quest.”

Learning professionals—the teachers, trainers, and educators of the world—have taken a central position during the pandemic that will continue long after the initial danger has subsided. It will be up to TD professionals to continue to demonstrate their value.


“TD professionals can do this by being on the leading edge of emergent technology rather than by simply following and reacting to requests from our stakeholders,” states Meacham. “We can serve as leaders, helping our organizations adjust to the new reality of an AI-enabled workforce.”

About the Author

Margie Meacham is a scholar-practitioner in the field of education and learning and president of LearningToGo. She specializes in practical applications for neuroscience to enhance learning and performance. Meacham’s clients include businesses, schools, and universities. She contributes to the ATD Science of Learning blog and is also the author of Brain Matters: How to Help Anyone Learn Anything Using Neuroscience and AI in Talent Development.

Margie holds a BA from Centenary University and a master’s degree in education from Capella University. She started her professional career in high-tech sales but discovered her passion for teaching and helping people learn as a training director. She became one of the first corporate trainers to use video conferencing and e-learning then started her own consulting company. Today she consults for many organizations, helping them design learning experiences that will form new neural connections and marry neuroscience theory with practice.


About ATD Press

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit

AI in Talent Development: Capitalize on the AI Revolution to Transform the Way You Work, Learn, and Live
ISBN: 9781950496310 | 162 Pages | Paperback

To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

To schedule an interview with Margie Meacham, please contact Kay Hechler, ATD Press senior marketing manager, at [email protected] or 703.683.8178.

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