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News » PwC’s Future of Work Officer predicts responsible AI to redefine leadership

PwC’s Future of Work Officer predicts responsible AI to redefine leadership

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Michael Fenlon, PwC’s Chief Future of Work Officer, shared insights into his role and the transformative power of artificial intelligence (AI) in redefining the essence of leadership within the workplace.

“There’s an intense focus on achieving productivity gains from AI, which has to be paired simultaneously with a focus on responsible AI adoption, governance, and understanding risks,” Fenlon stated in an exclusive interview with UNLEASH.

With over 328,000 employees and $50 billion in 2022 revenues, the professional services provider recognizes AI’s transformative potential also brings complex challenges. Fenlon’s role is to guide the ethical adoption of AI technologies across PwC’s operations and client services.

“When we think about the role of leading AI-enabled teams, we’re very focused on risk management, but we also can’t forget the risks of human intelligence,” he said.

“Confirmation bias, prototype bias, similarity bias, confirmation bias, for example. The decision sciences have documented these cognitive biases – that we all possess – and that can be a mismatch from our evolutionary heritage to the modern world.” 

Fenlon emphasized that understanding AI’s capabilities, limitations, and inherent biases is key to this. Leaders must ensure that AI decisions are transparent, explainable, and aligned with their organization’s values.

Another key prediction from Fenlon for the future of work is the shift from a job-centric to a skills-centric approach in HR practices. 

He envisions a more dynamic and AI-enabled talent marketplace, highlighting PwC’s digital platform, My Marketplace, as a model for connecting skills with opportunities within the firm.

“Employers should create an internal marketplace where there’s greater transparency of opportunity, and matching people with those opportunities versus traditional job posts,” he remarked.

PwC’s proactive stance signals a paradigm shift. As AI permeates the corporate world, ethical leadership will be paramount. Navigating AI’s intricacies, mitigating risks, and capitalizing on opportunities will separate the forward-thinking leaders from the rest.

“Teams need to have an environment where everyone has a voice and is contributing their unique skill set and knowledge,” Fenlon concluded.

“I think this is true globally, not just in the U.S. I think there’s going to be a much deeper recognition of this as a critical leadership capability.”


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