As the eventful 2023 news cycle drew to a close, one big tech-related headline emerged: The New York Times filed a copyright infringement suit against Microsoft and OpenAI, the maker of gen AI tool ChatGPT.
While The Times lawsuit addresses copyright specifically—stating that the publication’s stories were being used to train large language models (LLM)—it touches on the broad implications of generative AI training.
The training of LLMs is a particular concern for business and HR leaders. Jill Goldstein, global managing partner for talent transformation at IBM Consulting, told HRE that this uncertainty presents an opportunity for CHROs. She says that CHROs can be the “hero of responsible AI” and bring other teams within the organization along on this path.
Getting started with generative AI data
Josh Bersin wrote that gen AI systems take “care and feeding” and that prompt engineers need to tune chatbot solutions to provide correct answers, which involves “finding gaps in data or documentation.”
If that seems like a huge undertaking, Goldstein’s advice is to prioritize one’s own learning. “Everyone needs to increase their technical acumen, and you need to start with the role of data,” she says. “Focus on the cloud and … talk about traditional AI even before you start to think about generative AI.”
CHROs with tech competencies will be positioned as strong partners for the CIO and other organization leaders, according to Goldstein. Technical knowledge also enables HR executives to understand the capabilities delivered by service providers and software engagements.
Building the job description of the future
With solid technical acumen, CHROs can discover areas where their expertise can be used to solidify LLM foundations. Goldstein says that HR leaders will be the ones to determine which tasks can be automated within any given job description. They will also identify new skills and certifications that will need to be incorporated as roles and business needs change.
Rather than using generative AI to regenerate job descriptions, HR leaders should train the AI model with language that reworks the job description to fulfill future-facing business needs.
The proactive approach involves incorporating these skills into the AI roadmap, driving a strategic shift in skill development, according to Goldstein. Simultaneously, there’s an opportunity for CHROs to reimagine the remaining work, exploring options like job consolidation and tailored workweeks aligned with geographical, industrial or workforce needs. As organizations embrace these changes, HR’s pivotal role in overseeing fundamental skills training becomes evident, says Goldstein, marking a crucial adaptation to the evolving landscape.
“As we think about HR servicing other parts of the business, I think it’s going to be very similar to the way that we see it happening today with humans,” says Goldstein of generative AI training. “There’s expertise in HR that helps with work design and role design and the training to get there.”
Spearheading prompt engineering
Goldstein believes that HR is going to become “super proficient” at prompt engineering. She says that for people to get the most out of artificial intelligence, “there needs to be a construct put in place between the user interface and the data.” Goldstein insists that strategic human resources teams will perform as this construct and be essential in deploying training that teaches employees about prompting.
To expand generative AI use throughout the organization, Goldstein emphasizes the importance of clearly defining organizational values. This clarity not only fosters internal and external integrity but also builds trust among the workforce based on principles of responsible AI in the absence of regulatory frameworks. As employees await the outcomes of efforts such as the U.S. Executive Order for secure AI and the EU AI Act, they will look to organizational leaders for guardrails.
Informed by her more than 30 years in HR, Goldstein asserts that generative artificial intelligence is positioned to fulfill long-standing promises in the HR field, notably through innovations such as chatbots and real-time actionable information for managers. She emphasizes that the ongoing rapid advancements not only delight and surprise employees—who are increasingly expecting a frictionless tech experience at work—but also underscore employers’ accelerated progress in equipping HR professionals and managers with valuable tools and capabilities.
Goldstein senses that CHROs, with a strong background in the people function, are in a key position to make an impact in gen AI implementations over the next year: “I think we are going to continue to see disproportionate love and focus given to HR given the impact [of AI] on people.”