That is a VERY good point, Joël Aznar!
People play a key role and will continue to do so. More than ever the adage “people are your greatest asset” will be true and organizations will have to walk the talk (which has not been the case so far…). Machines will take care of more and more tasks. The most mundane ones (for now…). Making jobs hopefully more humans (and maybe rarer):
“What we concluded is that what AI is definitely doing is not eliminating jobs, it is eliminating tasks of jobs, and creating new jobs, and the new jobs that are being created are more human jobs,” says Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte. Bersin defines “more human jobs” as those that require traits robots haven’t yet mastered, like empathy, communication, and interdisciplinary problem solving. “Individuals that have very task-oriented jobs will have to be retrained, or they’re going to have to move into new roles,” he adds. (Source: How AI Is Changing The Way Companies Are Organized, Fast Company, Feb. 2017.)
My optimistic side adheres to this positive view of the future of work. Machines augmenting people, liberating them from the mundane (read boring, alienating,…) physical or mental tasks, enabling people to realize themselves.
“If we can get the task allocation right, the humans of the future won’t be fighting with robots to shovel dirt, find landmines or drive mining equipment. Rather, humans will be caring for people and having interesting conversations about how to make the world a better place. They should be doing whatever they love and spending time with whomever they love — which will hopefully not be a robot.” (Source: The assimilation of robots into the workforce as peers, not replacements, Techcrunch, July 2016
My idealist side wants to believe that we have our destiny in our hands. Choices regarding the future of work (and of society) are tough and impactful. So, decisions should be taken with sustainability in mind and not short-termism.
“The obligation, and the self‑interest of every company is to build a robust society.” —Tim O’Reilly
As you say, building a robust society is about continuing and even increasing to invest in people (empowerment, accountability, development, coaching…). It is especially required when one thinks about the massive mutation that work is going through. It also makes sense to, among other things, and as you rightly say, boost engagement at work which is at its lowest since years, especially for the younger generations.
And, as far as Procurement is concerned, the challenge is double. Procurement itself, like any other function, must answer the question of the role of machines in its future.
Also, it has a role to support an enterprise's digital transformation (as it most probably requires external services and tools). Which places Procurement in a position to influence decisions on what machines and people will do in the future.
This is why my optimistic and idealist sides join forces to declare: 🖖️!
For more, see my Medium publication: