There is a visceral and palpable dynamic emerging in global workplaces: tension.
Tension between what is potentially knowable—and what is actually known. Tension between the present and the future state of work. Tension between what was, is, and what might become (and when). Tension between the nature, function, and limits of data and technology.
The present-future of work is being shaped daily, dynamically, and profoundly by a host of factors—led by the exponential proliferation of data, new technologies, and artificial intelligence (“AI”)—whose impact cannot be understated. Modern employers have access to an unprecedented amount of data impacting their workforce, from data concerning the trends and patterns in employee behaviors and data concerning the people analytics used in hiring, compensation, and employee benefits, to data that analyzes the composition of the employee workforce itself. To be sure, AI will continue to disrupt how virtually every employer views its human capital model on an enterprise basis. On a micro level, employers are already analyzing which functions or groups of roles might be automated, augmented, or better aligned to meet their future business models.
And, yet, there is an equal, counterbalancing force at play—the increased demand for accountability, transparency, civility, and equity. We have already seen this force playing out in real time, most notably in the #MeToo, pay equity, and data privacy and security movements. We expect that these movements and trends will continue to gain traction and momentum in litigation, regulation, and international conversation into 2019 and beyond.
We have invited Epstein Becker Green attorneys from our Technology, Media & Telecommunications (“TMT”) service team to reflect and opine on the most significant developments of the year. In each, we endeavor to provide practical insights to enable employers to think strategically through these emergent tensions and business realities—to continue to deliver value to their organizations and safeguard their goodwill and reputation.