Ravin Jesuthasan is a Managing Director at Willis Towers Watson and a thought leader on the future of work, human capital, and the automation of work. He is also co-author with John Boudrea of Reinventing Jobs
What is your background briefly?
I am a retreaded finance and strategy guy who found his way into human capital and work. I am a CFA by training but, as I have matured, enjoy the application more than the analysis.
Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?
I think the diversity of learning has indeed prepared me well for what I do now. The one constant throughout my career has been the quest to learn more and the desire to seek connections between different domains.
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
I help organizations achieve the optimal combinations of humans and machines.
Why did you decide to write the book?
So much of the current narrative about the future of work is about robots and AI killing jobs. The job is no longer the relevant measure for work; it is tasks and skills. We wrote this book to give leaders a framework so they can responsibly and sustainably apply automation to work with a clear understanding of what human work will be substituted, augmented or created as a result of automation.
AI and humans can create blended and superior results than either alone – for now – how long do you think this state of affairs will continue?
I think we will continue to see great examples of the power of automation to augment human capability for a long time to come. At the same time, we will see much disruption for the foreseeable future as significant bodies of human work are substituted by automation but also created. The one certainty is significant change.
Where do you stand on the humans vs machines perspective held by Elon Musk, Steven Hawkings and others? Too alarmist or reasonable?
I think of automation as a tool that can either be used for great good or great evil. We illustrated the power of automation for good in a recent HBR article (https://hbr.org/2018/10/what-we-often-get-wrong-about-automation) but I can also see the wisdom in Elon’s and Steven’s perspectives.
Will we see a singularity / if so when, or why not?
I see lots of great examples of automation in narrow domains. While we may well see the singularity at some point, I think it is quite a ways away….
How can people find out more about you & your work?
I would love to have your readers follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. I routinely share articles and materials from our work. We also have a fabulous website that has lots of resources for companies and individuals alike (https://www.towerswatson.com/en/Services/your-business-issues/future-of-work )
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
I am honored to have been asked to share a little about myself and my views. Thank you!