As fears of artificial intelligence replacing human workers grows, some companies are focusing on the people who make the brands work.
Heather Brunner of WP Engine and Barbara Humpton of Siemens USA emphasized the need for changing education, investment in current employees, and rethinking prerequisites that were once considered sacrosanct. Brunner, for instance, noted that WP Engine has removed its college degree requirement and is partnering with more community colleges, workforce development agencies, and coding programs in universities to train its talent.
Both women noted that AI isn’t going away, but that doesn’t necessarily mean humans won’t be a critical factor anymore.
“The key question people keep asking us is, ‘Are we transforming humans out of the equation?’ And the answer is ‘no, we’re elevating the role of the human. We’re finding out what is truly humanly possible’,” Humpton said Tuesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Montreal.
Brunner also noted that while millennials and older generations remember a time before the internet and the digital age, the same isn’t true for Gen Z. Many Gen Z-ers are now entering college and will soon be the newest generation of employees. This will push the older generations to adapt to Gen Z’s vision of people and technology being intertwined.
“The brands that are going to win in the future are going to embrace that and bring their humanity online to all their services,” Brunner said.