CWS and GigE 2023 - A look back

3 min | Robert Moffat | Article | Industry news | Workforce management

So, after 2 summits, 4 days, 50+ sessions, 100+ speakers, 500+ organizations represented and 1000+ attendees what were the main themes of Contingent Workforce Strategies (CWS) summit and Collaboration the Gig Economy (GigE)?

It’s all about AI

In the opening keynote the Google CEO was quoted with his comment on AI that "It's more profound than, I don't know, electricity or fire."

For the next 4 days AI was the common thread through many, or most, sessions.

All agreed AI is coming or is already here. It is able to look through more data, faster and more consistently than you or I. The question isn’t ”if” but “what” and “how”, however what is clear, is that the “when” is now.

But there are some qualifications... demonstrated through my favourite quotes of the 4 days.

  • “AI is 'UPS', Useful, Powerful and Scary…. just like medicine, the internet and knives (before it)”
  • And it will be “augmentation not automation”
  • With people “working with AI as a colleague (Co-pilot)”

And perhaps the less-than-smooth road ahead, at least in our industry, was predicted by Tom Davenport in the keynote when he observed that the session on “what” ChatGPT could be used for was “standing room only”. However, the next session on how to manage the necessary change was less than a quarter full.

So is it all about AI… or in fact…

It's not only about AI… it's also about the people.

AI offers an opportunity to streamline and improve many processes but most, or all, are initially built by a human and, at least for now, most have “a human at the beginning and the end” and if we don’t engage and bring those humans on the journey many, or most, AI projects will fail. It also raises the challenge that “we’re all biased… based on our experiences…. how has the AI been trained”?

But overall “Automation is nothing to be feared” and “It has always...created new jobs” so we have to embrace the change and “be persistent – change is hard“.

Some additional selected highlights

A “best of” collection:

  • Quote – “AI is UPS (Useful, Powerful and Scary) just like “medicine, the internet and knives (before it)”.
  • Session - ChatGPT & Generative AI Unleashed: Practical Applications for Staffing Firms & Gig Platforms – perhaps “entry level” AI but practical with actionable insights.
  • Speaker - Marcus Sawyerr, Founder & CEO EQ Community - insightful and pragmatic.
  • Statistic(s) - AI will create 97 million jobs (world economic forum) but “30% of (existing) jobs can be automated by mid-2030”.
  • Technology – Joint awards to Converzai for the point solution for volume screening and Wolf for the harder to define value proposition but therefore wider potential possibilities.

In summary

AI will be changing most, or all, of work and our working lives, it is therefore about how we embrace but also importantly manage that change. And as last reminder to those in doubt “You (probably) won’t lose your job to AI but you will lose it to someone using AI better than you”.


About this author

Robert Moffat
Global and Americas Head of Solutions, Enterprise Solutions at Hays

As Global and Americas Head of Solutions Robert is part of the global leadership team responsible for innovation and product development. Having lived and worked for Hays in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas he has been instrumental in a number of Hays’ global projects including the roll out of a Global Operating Method, Supplier Engagement Strategy, the evolution of our direct sourcing approach and a quick deploy RPO service for start-up and high growth companies.

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