Futurist Thomas Frey wrote in a February 2014 article about something he called the “God Globe”. He described this as “a master command center for planet earth” where we would have the ability to control Earth’s most powerful forces through monitoring and manipulating multiple streams of data from one central control board. This would give us a way to ”visualize a far better early warning system for detecting natural disasters; corruption; health Issues; disease outbreaks; infrastructure failures; environmental dangers; and deviant behavior.”
In a March 2014 article Frey introduces a number of jobs he thought would be created by the “God Globe.” These included five that I think are well suited for HR professionals. These include: Inflectionists; Fear Containment Managers; Privacy Theorists; Philosophers; and Ethicists. Let me explain why I think these fit HR Professionals.
Frey says an Inflectionist is someone “who can pinpoint the optimal intersection of time, place, and information for change to occur.” Today HR professionals are seen or tasked with being “change managers” for their organizations. Certainly the transition to being the expert on when is the best time to change should not be that hard. Right now we implement change that others implement, but with the use of predictive analytics we should be able to move to the role of identifying when is the optimal time to implement a change.
Fear Containment Managers
This position is also not a big reach for HR professionals. In fact we do this, or have done this, a fair amount already. As companies cutback staffs HR often was the lead in squelching rumors and dealing with the fallout of the fear of job loss. As the job displacement due to technological unemployment increases this may become a necessary job.
Hey we deal with privacy now. As the use of wearables, tracking devices, and other smart devices increase HR people will be pushed into paying to the issue of privacy to a much greater extent. Bring your own device (BYOD) policies alone could be sufficient to justify having someone who is both a people issue and legal issue expert.
An HR philosopher is also a very reasonable position for a current HR professional. As we deal with increasing technological issues someone is going to have to deal with the person-machine connection issues. What better position for an HR professional?
Since we already deal with ethical issues on a daily basis this is a natural fit. As we incorporate more robotics and Artificial Intelligence we may blur the line between people and machines. Ethicists will have to help make sense of this and be on guard for ethical violations of how people and AI “humanoids” are treated. Will being “robotic” be a protected category at some point? Will robots have to be protected from discrimination at some point? Or conversely will humans need to be protected?
As time progresses, and in some case rushes at us, the nature of work will change. How do you, the individual HR professional, prepare for how your role may be different in the future? Consider how you may transition your role into one of these future roles to be better prepared for what your future holds.