15th February 2019 ; Friday 9:30AM-11:00AM

HR Committee Meeting with IBM: Artificial Intelligence and HR

Event Date Time 15th February 2019 ; Friday 9:30AM-11:00AM

We read almost daily about AI in business. But are we using it in our organisations? HR is one area where AI is being implemented in organisations and in many companies it is the first place to start. Our Committees wanted to know what AI can we use in the short term and how will our HR organisations.

The HR Committee and the Digital Committee invited Pallavi Srivastava IBM Talent Leader for Asia Pacific & Greater China and company evangelist for artificial intelligence in HR to update Eurocham leaders in Asia on AI. She is an HR practitioner in using and testing some of these cognitive tools inside IBM. We also took the opportunity to share how we are using AI in our own companies.

1.Where is your company using AI in your HR organisation?

A survey of the participants showed that 60% of their organisations are not yet using AI. Pallavi confirmed that her work with American and European business allowed her to see a gap – European businesses are behind in using AI. But she explained this as Europe being more cautious concerning the widespread use of AI applications in the workplace due to the General Data Protection Regulations (now the US is adopting its own data privacy laws based on the success of the European model.) 

We surveyed participants on how AI will impact their HR organisations and found that 50% of the participants thought that AI would redefine the roles and skillsets of HR while 28% thought that HR work would be outsources.

Pallavi confirmed from her experience using the new tools internally at IBM that the major impact is not to reduce the headcount or cost of HR in organisations significantly – the major impact will be transforming the roles and skillsets inside the HR organization. The major area of challenge, she said, is not the motivation of workers to use AI tools for HR. Chatbots are adopted more easily that one would think and she suggested that that is where many HR organisations could start using AI. The major area of challenge in introducing AI tools in HR at IBM was to train managers to use the HR tools and this required a process that tracked and incentivized the use of HR.

The good news, shared by Pallavi with our participants, is that it is possible (but requires time and investment) to reskill HR professionals in HR.

A final area of discussion concerned ethics. Participants thought that personal data protection would be the major ethical issue in using AI (34%). Other areas were discrimination and bias in HR practices (24%), invasive use of facial recognition and movement tracking (21%) and managing the employability and reskilling of employees (21%) would be the major ethical issues that they would have to deal with.

Pallavi pointed out that these ethical issues are at the top of the list for what IBM respects in implementing AI with clients. This is explained in a video AI for Good with IBM head of ethics, Francesca Rossi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83RrWoHyxi0

Pallavi also indicated where you can find IBMs white papers and studies on the use of AI in companies: the Smarter Workforce Institute link https://www.ibm.com/smarter-workforce/institute

For thought leadership, HR leaders in the region should know about two recent books that are shaping the debate on how fast AI is being developed and how it is being used.



Pallavi Srivastava

IBM Talent Leader for Asia Pacific & Greater China


HR is one area where reality has gone beyond the hype and some tools are available faster than expected.
In 2017 the EuroCham was wowed by the potential of AI for HR when we visited the new IBM Watson Centre in Singapore. Since that time, we read almost daily about AI in business. But are we using it in our organisations? What applications have been tested and what are the results? What do we need to do in the short term to change our HR organisations and what skill-sets do we need?
Nobody is better positioned than Pallavi to update HR leaders Asia on AI, because as a practitioner she is using and testing some of these cognitive tools inside IBM before they get to market. Although part of internal HR, she also works with business client teams in sharing IBM’s point of view for integrating AI in HR.
So bring your questions to the meeting for a robust discussion on possibilities and challenges, put your doubts and concerns on the table and share your experiences – you will come away from this meeting much wiser on what to do about AI!


This event is open only to EuroCham members. If you are keen to attend, please contact Mr Elgin Seah at elgin.seah@eurocham.org.sg

Closing Date: 15th February 2019 ; Friday 9:30AM-11:00AM