HR Tech 2023 Brings Depth and Nuance to AI Conversation



After a decade-plus hiatus, I finally made it back to HR Tech this year. And what a time to do it. Nearly a year after ChatGPT turned the world upside down, you could feel the energy as speakers, vendors, and attendees talked, listened, and learned to understand what generative AI means for their jobs, companies, and yes, their humanity.

Looking back, the content from the 30+ AI-focused sessions represented an attempt to grapple with two questions: What does AI mean for my business? And what does it mean for us as humans—who happen to derive great value and meaning from jobs that AI will certainly affect?

Two contrasting keynotes added depth and nuance to the answers for me.

Josh Bersin, an analyst and thought leader in the global talent market, peered into his crystal ball to envision how AI could shake up the HR tech landscape, providing an expansive view of how AI will transform HR technology and impact business strategy. With CEOs focused on navigating economic uncertainty, talent shortages, employee stress, and employee strikes, Bersin noted that workforce issues remain an executive-level priority. At the same time, the proliferation of HR tech has led to the “kitchen drawer” problem: an overabundance of disjointed tools that may or may not help with talent challenges. Bersin made the case for how AI will consolidate HR tech and supercharge workers. He urged HR leaders to clearly define the business problems they aim to solve before investing in AI-enabled tools.

Then, business consultant and motivational speaker Marcus Buckingham got up close and personal in his keynote, arguing nothing—not even AI—can replace human love as the key to performance. Buckingham argued that the feeling of being loved leads people to stronger loyalty, advocacy, productivity, and retention. He claimed love, not AI, is the most powerful force in business. Ultimately, he asserted that AI is barren and can never commit to human flourishing.

Bersin analyzed the business implications; Buckingham focused on the human ones. Together, they captured the dichotomy of the moment: AI feels simultaneously thrilling and threatening.

For Mineral, it’s thrilling. And we demonstrated our embrace of AI with two talks of our own.

Susan Anderson, Mineral’s Chief Services Officer, shared the results of putting ChatGPT to the test to see how well it could answer HR compliance questions compared to our own legal and HR experts. The results were mixed; Susan shared our hypothesis and approach, the importance of failing fast, as well as key takeaways anyone should consider if they want to conduct a similar proof of concept.

Next, Mineral CEO Nathan Christensen and former OpenAI leader Zack Kass had a candid conversation about the implications of artificial intelligence for HR—and for humanity. As an executive who helped launch ChatGPT and an advisor to more than a thousand organizations on their AI strategies, Zack brought incomparable insight to help shape the audience’s understanding of how we got here, where we are today, where we’re headed, and what we need to do now.

With AI both poised to automate more jobs and reshape how we work, Nathan and Zack explored risks like identity displacement and misinformation as well as opportunities to achieve staggering scientific breakthroughs and new of levels of creativity and productivity. Zack walked through what AI will never be—visionary, wise, and courageous—and Nathan shared how critical it is to not think of these as personality traits, but skills to develop in our employees to thrive in an AI world.

Eventually we won’t need 30+ sessions about AI at HR Tech for the same reasons there aren’t any sessions about the internet. Until that day comes (and it’s not far off, according to Zack), it’s clear that AI’s power to reshape both the landscape of work and the human experience is undeniable. And Mineral’s contributions at this year’s conference exemplify our commitment to navigating this uncharted territory, both for our employees and our customers.

Author: Mineral
HR and compliance made simple. Trusted by more than 1 million companies, Mineral is the HR and compliance leader for growing businesses. Our proactive solutions take the guesswork out of HR and compliance, giving clients peace of mind. We combine data, technology, and human expertise to drive innovation and personalized guidance.