September 25, 2020

Automating Middle Management

A talk given to the Ex-AI club at the University of Exeter. 25th of September, 2020.

Link to the slides here.

Organizations are a form of technology primed for disruption. The fundamental roles of human organizations (e.g. coordinate activity, distribute resources, allocate tasks, etc) are quickly being handed over to algorithmic control piece by piece. In this talk I will address the advancement of AI in the domain of middle management and the coming rise of self-driving organizations. In my work on email networks, social network analysis, and natural language processing in organizations I have discovered the accuracy and usefulness of using machine learning to predict employee outcomes. It’s a short step from this research to the deployment of predictive or prescriptive systems which automate key staffing decisions. These changes could lead to a healthier working environment where systems optimize for human well-being, or they could go a different direction in which human needs are sidestepped in the interest of alternative goals. The goal of this talk is to continue this important discussion.