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Enterprise hits and misses - HR leaders get an ethics wake-up call, and Google stakes its generative AI search claim

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed April 10, 2023
This week - are HR leaders up to the ethics challenge? Google makes its expected AI-for-search fanfare, while AI guardrails are debated. Accenture shifts its tech outlook; your whiffs include quantum teleportation.


Lead story - HRMO wake up call - the top 10 HR ethical challenges

Just when HR leaders are coming up for air on "What to do about generative AI?", Brian has a thorny gift basket of ethical questions. As he explains in Top 10 HR ethical challenges - guilty or not guilty?, the stakes are high:

If your firm is still losing the war for talent, it’s time to be more circumspect and ask what, internally, is going on in your firm that is triggering continued attrition and low employment interest.

All of these are doozies, but a few jumped out:

  • HR is using AI-powered solutions that it probably doesn’t understand or can’t defend.
  • HR continues to hire record numbers of replacement employees while doing nothing to address the #1 attrition trigger: bad bosses.
  • Monitoring employee social media accounts (a reality, but yuck)

So what should ethical HR leaders do about this? Brian says culture change and employee engagement matter - but not if it's another round of lip service or handing out mood rings. He also warns HR leaders about getting dazzled by the shiny new tech toy. Oh, and this "top ten" was far from comprehensive. Brian piles on:

Other issues that could go on your firm’s top HR ethical challenges might include continuing ageism, offering below poverty level wages, unsafe working conditions, a failure to monitor outsourced worker/work conditions, slow/no progress in supporting a more diverse workforce, etc. 

For more on the worst buzzwords in HR - and also how HR leaders should take action - check the audio version of my show with Brian, Stacey Harris and Bonnie Tinder: HR tech blowout - research reveal and buzzword deconstructions.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my top choices from our vendor coverage:

Jon's grab bag - Stuart reports on another pending regulatory skirmish in UK regulator considers referring IaaS market to competition authorities, with AWS and Microsoft in the firing line.  Madeline shares a worthy initiative from Celonis and Deloitte in Process Mining gets its own women’s group to drive gender equality in this emerging tech.

Madeline filed a notable real-world sustainability use case in DPD speeds ahead with robotic measures to deliver 2040 Net Zero target. Finally, Neil took apart the arguments in a now-infamous AI letter in Six month moratorium on AI development? In your dreams.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

  • Low and no-code paradox: Freeing up tech pros' time, but creating new entanglements - Joe McKendrick hones in on the low-code sticking point: app governance: "Ultimately, IT professionals need to remain hands-on when it comes to guiding citizen developers to adhere to corporate and technology standards"
  • These Little Things Lead to Digital Transformation And ERP Implementation Failures - Third Stage's Eric Kimberling continues a strong series on digital transformation pitfalls. If forced to pick one, I'll take 'Data management and migration - often treated as an afterthought during a digital transformation.'
  • Don’t Kill Innovation, But Apply Guardrails For AI - Constellation's Andy Thurai looks to reconcile the speed of AI innovation with the need for smart constraints: "There is a strong possibility of IP information leaking by simple attacks over LLMs which is proven by research students as many of these systems have weak security protocols in place."
  • GPT-5 and irrational exuberance - Speaking of guardrails, Gary Marcus puts a strong set around the extravagant expectations for GPT-5: "Basing our AI policies around fantasies doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea."
  • Six CEO priorities for 2023  - McKinsey details the big picture issues leaders should get out in front of: "Do you treat the technology executives in your company as equal to, and at the same table as, business executives? Next, how sophisticated is your product management? Do you have a product management capability that ensures an end-to-end connection between the benefits created, the technology to create those benefits, and the feedback loop on customer and business performance?"
  • Google Will 'Absolutely' Bring AI Chat to Your Searches - I still think generative AI is a lousy fit with consumer search, but - 1. Google can't just let Bing freestyle its way into search dominance, and 2. Google has been utilizing AI to drive various forms of in-line search for a while. So, we'll see.
  • The Continued Decline of High-Quality Deals - Gartner's Hank Barnes calls attention to a concerning trend: "It is really all about (relatively) Inexperienced Buying Teams, who:

  •     Don’t agree on requirements.
  •     Don’t take a disciplined approach.
  •     Don’t investigate thoroughly.
  •     Don’t understand all the steps to complete a purchase in their organization.
  •     Don’t know the composition of an effective buying team (or don’t choose to assemble one)."

Overworked businessman


So I had a bit of Twitter fun with a leaked professional services employee manual:

Which led to a sizzling reply from Melissa Swift:

Boss Baby Customers? I'm going to remember that one for a while! Remember what I said about the problematic future of AI search?

And finally - you can't sneak a casual mention of quantum computing's pending teleportation capabilities by me that easily:

Something tells me if quantum solves for teleportation shortly, we won't hear much about generative AI for a while... See you next time.

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.

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