Chatbots and self-driving trucks are revolutionising
the way we live, work and travel.

lexa, have I turned off the gas? In today’s reality, using artificial intelligence (AI) bots such as Alexa, Cortana, or Siri, have become the new normal. Technology is so integrated in our daily lives, that we almost can’t imagine a life without it. It helps individuals and companies to streamline activities, save time and organise schedules, to work faster and more efficient and live in new places around the world. In a world with no boundaries, AI chatbots and self-driving trucks amongst other technology are part of the future of HR and global mobility.

The developers have been working on this for a long time. Google founder Larry Page said as long ago as 2005: “One of our big goals in search is to make search that really understands exactly what you want, understands everything in the world. As computer scientists, we call that artificial intelligence.”

A world with no boundaries: HR and global mobility reborn from technology

Usually, the human resources department needs people on the spot to answer questions on everything from queries over work permits, to tax obligations and the complex task of managing compliance of employees within their relocation programmes.

This is a people-intensive process and it becomes more so as the business grows, becomes international in nature and it has to straddle different time zones and shifting global socio-economic variables.

Would AI replace the need of human touch?

Here is where AI comes to help. AI can overcome the time zone objection immediately through chatbots, as authorities such as Forbes contributor Jeanne Meister among others explains. Imagine a scenario, where instead of instant messaging (IM) an individual, one can IM a chatbot, whose mastery of the language is such that the employee doesn’t know or mind whether there is a human being on the end of the conversation. This can work on two levels; the more repetitive queries about work and conditions can be handled by a low-level piece of robotic technology (called robotic process automation or RPA).

Felipe Del Corrall, CDO at Santa Fe Relocation, also comments how AI impacts the global mobility industry in 2017:

It is understandable why not everyone would be comfortable with the change. Would AI replace the need of human touch? In an interview with Thomson Reuters at the Global Manufacturing & Industrialisation Summit 2017 in Abu Dhabi, Roberto Mancone of Deutsche Bank comments that “any industrial revolution will change the way people work and interact with the client – and make no mistake, this is an industrial revolution”

Moving around the world, chatbots and cross-cultural training

The more advanced chatbots are already in the market in the shape of, for example, Talla, which at the moment, has enjoyed a lot of buzz.

It can get still more sophisticated and useful because the chatbots speak as many languages as they are programmed to. A real example here is Google Translate on the iPhone (not Android as yet), allows you to view text through your phone’s camera and translates it for the phone’s screen. Easy as that!

AI chatbots could also help relocating abroad and answer questions about immigration, law, compliance and make international assignments more efficient. After Donald Trump became a president of the US, inquiries about Canadian residence increased dramatically. Companies in the US started developing AI chatbots (IVA, Botler) that answer questions about immigration and Canadian rights.

AI Automation, how technology increases business efficiency and remove bias

Additional advantages will emerge as AI doesn’t make errors and it’s available 24 hours, 7 days a week. AI’s super-accurate records can extract and spot trends and talents. AI also have the potential to increase accurate measurement by metrics and apply analytics to them. Businesses that invest in technology will become more efficient, utilising large data quantities and spotting trends and opportunities straight away.

However we would always need the human touch, one suggestion in Personnel Today’s article ‘Ten ways HR tech leaders can make the most of artificial intelligence’ – where Steve Pritchard, HR Consultant for Ben Sherman, is reported to have said:

The bigger picture, using technology to improve employee relocation experience

Uber and others are experimenting with self-driving trucks which will reduce the cost of haulage. In August 2017, the UK government allocated £8.1m for trials of technology in which three wirelessly connected lorries will drive in convoy, expecting to carry out tests by the end of 2018. The trucks will have human drivers in case of emergencies but will essentially drive themselves. The government is aiming for reduced emissions from vehicles in the slipstream, so better air quality and also reduced costs for hauliers as vehicles default to efficient driving.

Developing such technology, could have significant impact on employee relocation, as the innovation would increase supply chain efficiency, reduce shipping cost and improve overall employee relocation experience.
Driverless lorries will be tested by the end of 2018Today, AI improves business efficiency by saving many hours in on-boarding processes, helping HRs and global mobility specialists to focus on more strategic issues and enhancing employee relocation experience. However, many people seem fearful of AI. This is ironic because technology, deployed well, takes the repetitive tasks away and get us closer to a world with no boundaries, where technology removes language barriers and puts an end to the skill bias.For businesses, AI could be the difference between being “good” and being “great”, outpacing competitors and uncovering opportunities by technology-enhanced learning tools such as AI chatbots and driverless trucks.

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