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Workday's Leap into Generative AI: A Boon or a Concern for HR?

February 27, 2024

Introduction

Workday, a leading enterprise management platform, recently made headlines by unveiling a range of generative AI features designed to enhance productivity and streamline business processes. The announcement came during their annual Workday Rising conference held in San Francisco. While some of these features are promising, others raise ethical concerns, particularly when it comes to AI-generated employee work plans.

New Features Unveiled

Workday has introduced several AI-driven functionalities that aim to make life easier for HR professionals and managers. These include:

  1. Contract Comparison: This feature allows users to automatically compare signed contracts against existing ones in Workday to identify discrepancies.
  2. Knowledge Management Articles: Workday will now help in creating personalized knowledge management articles.
  3. Statements of Work: The platform can generate statements of work for service procurement.

For more details on Workday's offerings, you can visit their official website.

The Controversial AI-Generated Work Plans

Workday's AI-generated work plans enable managers to quickly summarize employees' strengths and areas for growth by pulling data from various sources like performance reviews, employee feedback, and more. While this sounds convenient, it raises several ethical questions:

Ethical Concerns

  1. Bias in Text Analysis: Studies have shown that AI models can exhibit biases against certain groups, particularly when analyzing text. For example, African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) is often flagged as "toxic" by some AI models. Read more about AI bias.
  2. Sentiment Analysis Risks: AI models trained to detect sentiment can also be biased, associating certain groups with negative emotions.

Workday has responded to these concerns by stating that their AI models are designed transparently, although they haven't revealed the exact data used for training.

Workday's Other AI Features

Apart from the controversial work plans, Workday has also introduced less problematic features like AI-generated job descriptions and automated "past due" notices. These features are designed to be more straightforward and less prone to ethical dilemmas.

Developer Copilot and Conversational AI

Workday is also venturing into generative coding with Developer Copilot, which offers code suggestions for custom apps. Additionally, they are piloting conversational AI experiences to enhance user interaction.

Conclusion

Workday's new generative AI features are a mixed bag. While they promise to revolutionize HR tasks, they also bring along ethical concerns that cannot be ignored. It remains to be seen how Workday will address these issues as they roll out these features in the next six to 12 months.

FAQ

What are Workday's new generative AI features?

Workday has introduced a range of AI features, including contract comparison, knowledge management articles, and AI-generated work plans.

Are there any ethical concerns with Workday's AI features?

Yes, there are concerns about potential biases in text and sentiment analysis.

When will these features be available?

Workday expects to launch these features within the next six to 12 months.

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