HR professionals will see explosive growth in their use of artificial intelligence (AI) over the next five years, according to new research by HR.com. This growth will not only transform HR technologies but will have a major and perhaps unsettling impact on the workforce.

Now available for download, the HR.com infographic, AI in HR Today and in Five Years, is based on responses from 995 HR professionals participating in a survey fielded in August and September 2017. The full research whitepaper is available on the HR.com website.

Most respondents still have much to learn about the topic of using AI for the purpose of enhancing the HR function, with just 8% strongly agreeing they are knowledgeable in this area. One reason for this is a lack experience. Only 7% use AI for HR purposes to a high or very high degree today.

By 2022, however, over five times as many (39%) predict their organizations will make heavy use of AI, and the number rises to 57% among HR professionals who consider themselves knowledgeable about AI.

“Those who understand AI best also predict the highest AI usage levels over the next five years,” said Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of HR.com. “AI algorithms will be integrated into a wide array of HR-focused technologies. The main problem won’t be a lack of AI apps, however, it will be that HR pros must become savvy enough to separate hype from reality.”

The ability to improve analytics is what HR professionals want most from AI, followed by the ability to predict and personalize. Analytics tools span across HR functions and can allow HR professionals to quickly gain insights about everything from employee retention risks to engagement levels.

AI will also have an impact on the workforce outside the HR function. Nearly twice as many HR professionals (27%) envision AI-related technologies causing a net loss in jobs rather than those predicting a net gain (15%), with the rest saying there will not be significant gains or losses as a result of AI. Respondents were also much more likely to say that the automation of various tasks will be prevalent over the next five years (54%), as opposed to the augmentation of employees’ capabilities (35%).

Automation could extend into the management ranks. When respondents were asked if employees will increasingly take direction from AI technology that allocates and assigns tasks to employees, over half (53%) said they would.

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