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AI and learning culture

by Paolo Giuricich CA(SA)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already changed the way we operate in our lives and businesses to a greater degree and will continue exponentially into the future. How will this ‘machine learning’ translate into our own learning and work place culture?

In 1999, Salzberger-Wittenberg, Williams and Osbourne wrote an interesting piece on human learning.  ‘Real learning ability and discovery can only take place when a state of not knowing can be borne long enough to enable all the data gathered by the senses to be taken in and explored until some meaningful pattern emerges.  If we are to understand other human beings, we have to start from a state of not knowing, an interest about finding out by observing, listening and being receptive to the communications conveyed by others to us, both verbally and non-verbally.

Key elements of learning and culture are therefore grounded in the sensory and emotional connections that we as humans make in the context of life and work.  In contrast, the algorithm learning that machines and computers perform, lack the insight into basic intrinsic needs of humans, and do include human biases through programming.

I attended a talk, on a company using AI in recruitment.  The selection process was reduced from four months to two weeks (with thousands of applications) and AI delivered its shortlist of candidates.  The shortlisted candidates then attended an assessment centre and a final selection for employment offers was made thereafter (by humans!).  It seems inconceivable that there was no human interaction in selection prior to the final round. I wonder about the ‘lost’ candidates in the AI process that would have been better suited to the company or what unfortunate biases may have been input into the algorithms that delivered the shortlisted candidates.  The company was satisfied with the final outcome of ‘people’ in the room.  From a learning and cultural perspective for the organisation and the AI specialists, it would be interesting to know how the learning from the machines, could be deconstructed and compared to a current ‘human’ process and whether the end results would differ significantly.

AI provides business with opportunities to deliver beyond expectations, and in the process the workforce will need to shift and become complementary to this new way of working and learning. From a cultural perspective, we need to ensure that our basic needs for inclusion, control and affection as humans are met and emotional connections are maintained. This will enable humans to continue learning and navigating the shifting organisational culture of the workplace, alongside machines.



For AI to enhance human interaction, we should be seeking more positive potential from this inevitability.  Imagine if AI could:

  • DELIVER LEARNING relevant to my individual emotional state, straight after in interaction or meeting with variable personalities in my organisation
  • DELIVER TARGETED news in organisations that would promote good corporate citizenship and flag instances that could see us falling short
  • DELIVER PATTERNS of biases in our society and organisations and feedback the instances
  • DELIVER STAFF to our organisations, which fill the skills and diversity gaps that we lack


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For the last 20 years, Paolo has held leadership roles across Learning and Development, Talent Management and Organisation Development at leading global firms, Investec, KPMG and Arthur Andersen. His passion for people development was ignited whilst working in professional services. Paolo is a Chartered Accountant and has worked in over 30 countries, assisting people and organisations in maximising their potential.  Paolo founded smart EQ - his own Professional Development Consultancy. He is currently studying Organisation Development through the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioural Sciences in the United Kingdom.


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