In 2050, will your CEO be a robot powered by AI?

Today is October 5, 2050. Like anyone experiencing their first day in their new business, the body, Fabien Miran is a bit stressed. Beyond the classic apprehension of knowing if he will get along with his colleagues and perform well in his new job, another point worries him: the general manager of his new company is not a human being, but a robot guided by an intelligence. artificial (AI). ), Mr. Bollorinator.

This is far from news: in September 2022, the Chinese company NetDragon Websoft, the country’s leader in video games and online education services, announced the naming of a robot equipped with artificial intelligence, named Ms. Tang Yu as CEO. At the time, it was a world first. Since then, artificial CEOs have conquered many management committees, to the point that Fabien Miran’s son already had an artificial intelligence as his boss during his internship. “It went pretty well,” he told his father to try to reassure him.

And after all, this is only the meaning of history, confirmed in 2022 * Florence Benichoux, physician and specialist in quality of life at work, author of What if we worked DIFFERENTLY? (Eyrolles Edition, 2014): “There is more and more robotization in the world of work, and sectors that we thought were untouchable end up giving in to it. It won’t hurt some human bosses, a little too cocky, to see that they themselves are replaceable. »

A boss 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

You can rest assured, machines are not the majority in the management of companies and it is not likely that they will be. “Artificial intelligences are still a long way from matching the capabilities of a real brain, particularly in terms of improvisation and emotions. The world, in 2050 or even later, will always need great and very human bosses”, said Thomas Coutrot*, associate researcher at the Institute for Economic and Social Research and co-author of Give meaning to work (2022, Le Seuil Edition). Therefore, it is impossible, even in 2050, to see AI leading all sectors. “They only work for certain companies and for very specific tasks: license management, schedules, replacements, salary distribution,” added Maithe Quintana, creator and president of the National Center for Pedagogical Innovation (CNIP) in 2022*.

Despite his minority side and misgivings, Fabien Miran believes that the arrival of robots at the forefront of management is an opportunity. We are talking about an important position here. This robot requires no salary and works 24/7 overtime labor*. Shoutout to Fabien: “It saves companies a lot of money and allows you to hire simpler employees than me.” His wife, who is in a union, complains that artificial bosses fire without emotion. “Well, from my youth, there were companies that fired thousands of employees without a tear from the boss. It doesn’t change much”, clarifies the fifty-year-old.

The end of discrimination?

From his first day, Fabien still notices serious differences: Mr. Bollorinator, welcomes him not with the traditional slightly warm handshake, but with a bot message listing the precise orders to be carried out during the month , your rights on vacation and your possibility. schedule change. “It’s a bit impersonal, confirms Aziz, her co-worker. But we are there among the common people to stick together. Human bosses don’t necessarily have much more heart,” she smiles.

For this thirty-year-old, the advancement of artificial intelligence comes with a strong promise: the end of discrimination at work. “A machine doesn’t care if my name is typed or if our colleague has a disability. Coldly analyze a CV, productivity figures and that’s it. I prefer the impersonal to the bastards”, says the employee.

A somewhat idealized vision, according to Thomas Coutrot: “In theory, artificial intelligence eliminates discrimination, conscious or unconscious. But practice has shown that it is not so simple. In particular because an artificial intelligence will compare the profiles that arrive with the resumes of those who have already held the position, or had a promotion for example, thus reproducing the pre-existing biases. In 2016, Microsoft launched Tay, a chatbot aimed at chatting with teens on social media. An experience that lasted only eight hours and 96,000 tweets, before the bot was deactivated for having made several racist comments, and in particular for denying the Holocaust. Created by humans, interfering with humans, artificial intelligences quickly adopt some of our flaws.

Repeat yes, adapt no

The worst of man, without necessarily the best? Fabien Miran’s son wanted to reassure his elderly father and carefully hid the fact that his internship company, a pokebowl specialist, had closed. The box failed to adapt to the quinoa crisis in 2047 after the Mexican-Bolivian conflict and went bankrupt. Having a boss who works 24 hours a day is fine, but that’s not all: “Artificial intelligence can be more efficient than a human in situations that it already knows and for which it is programmed, but not for unforeseen or totally unknown situations” . . We were very happy in 2020 with the health crisis of having human bosses, a machine would have been lost”, confirms Maithe Quintana.

A lack of adaptation that also applies in everyday life. Do artificial intelligences really know how to manage the very specific situations that certain employees experience, such as a miscarriage, the suicide of a loved one, but also an argument between colleagues or a love story in the office?, the expert asks.

“You just have to wait for things to go as they should,” Aziz philosophizes. the body has experienced record results since the acquisition of artificial intelligence: “No human would do better than Bollorinator. He has turned the company around, always calculating the best things to do and working 24 hours a day. We couldn’t have a better boss. And yes, even in 2050, there are still beans.

Bring back the human

A dithyrambic speech that Fabien finds it difficult to adhere to, quite frustrated that he had not met a real person when presenting himself to his CEO. Undoubtedly the biggest limit for Florence Benichoux: “The world of work also needs the human, the relational, the heart, the tactile”. Already, at the beginning of the century, “there was a loss of humanity in companies, which led to disenchantment at work”, continues the expert. Same fear for Bernard Vivier: “A box is not just about production, it is also about meaning and social bonds. And man will always be better at it than a machine. »

Florence Benichoux’s biggest fear is seeing a two-speed world of work, where having a human boss would have become a luxury: “As soon as we get past the numbers, we can see that artificial intelligence is not weight. And again, even in production, employees will be much more dedicated to a human enterprise. Having heart, emotion, empathy, humanity within your management should remain a prerequisite in the world of work, not a rare commodity. »

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