Innovation Spotlight

Think Bold: The Future of Global Mobility: Cyborgs?

Where do you think the future of mobility is going? According to Christopher Chalk, CRP, SGMS of Siemens Corporation, the future is in AI. Christopher will moderate a panel at the Global Workforce Symposium – Artificial Intelligence: Disruption of Mobility Concepts. It’s an opportunity to hear panelists’ thoughts on the near and distant future of AI, what we can expect, and what we must ensure never, ever happens.

Don’t forget to sign up now for Global Workforce Symposium and save your seat for this inspiring and eye-opening discussion.

There has been lots of talk in all spaces about artificial intelligence (AI), robots and chatbots, including global mobility, but what does this really mean for global mobility professionals and our world? Robots packing and loading moving trucks? Not in my lifetime, but trucks that drive themselves with a human co-pilot? They’re already here.  

I believe we will see exponential investment in AI in the global mobility space and many of the strategic projects we are involved in will touch AI in some way.

Global mobility professionals are already laying the groundwork to roll out robotics (software robots, as opposed to physical robots) and AI. At Siemens, we have successfully deployed robotics in global mobility which is a big, first step. The ideal Robotic Process Automation (RPA), or more simply bot, is for repetitive, administrative tasks. Ordering tax services, expat allowances, household goods shipments and other service-type orders lend themselves to this readily.

The future of all global mobility programs will include AI, which, at its core, is a computer program that replicates human intelligence and decision making. Robots and AI are two distinct concepts but are sometimes confused and used interchangeably. The terms truly overlap when you consider an AI robot, which is where I believe global mobility is headed, along with many other business lines and functions. AI-powered bots are capable of processing and verbally responding to complex questions and will carry out approved requests even using voice recognition to authenticate the user.

Bots are already being used by companies in the global mobility and relocation space for basic requests, as is AI to a lesser extent, due to the cost and complexity of the research. Cost, by the way, is the reason I will not see actual, physical robots packing and loading trucks in my lifetime.

So where do the cyborgs come into play? As sophistication in AI and robotics continues to advance, we will also likely see AI bot-assisted human consultants. That’s right – global mobility cyborgs are coming! Cyborgs are generally associated with science fiction and described as an integration of a technology component and a biological organism to enhance performance. I do not actually think technology components will be embedded into global mobility consultants, though you could make the argument that bluetooth headsets, Apple Watches and iPads are getting us closer. In this (non-Terminator style) future state I expect we will see something like:

The expat signs into the global mobility portal, calls a telephone number or sends an instant message to the AI bot. For routine items like requesting a pre-defined benefit, a copy of the policy or inquiring as to the next pay date, the AI bot would respond and log the interaction in the expat’s file. For anything more complex, the request is routed to the expat’s global mobility consultant for resolution. The list of items considered “more complex” would get smaller as the bot learns and the technology advances so that even multiple step, complex requests become automated. Eventually the AI bots from different departments and separate companies will talk to each other.

Does this mean global mobility jobs will go away? No, but they will look different in the future, so get ready. Strategic consulting at a higher level within our companies and with the support of predictive analytics will continue to be an increasing role for global mobility.

I once thought that complex tax, social insurance and immigration issues will continue to be a regular part of what we do, if for no other reason than the AI programming required to incorporate all the shifting variables would be too costly. In preparation for our session, Dr. Teresa Escrig has assured me:

“Everything that can be resolved with an algorithm is never too costly, it is only a question of knowing how to resolve the problem. If there are resources and time to solve it, it will get solved.”

Sign up here to join us at Global Workforce Symposium and participate in more than thirty-five sessions and panel discussions addressing the future of mobility.

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