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Employee Care: A Human-Centered Approach in the Age of AI

As artificial intelligence and automation transform the workplace, Adrienne LaFrance makes a compelling case for a “human renaissance” in her Atlantic article “The Coming Humanist Renaissance.” Just as the technological advances of the 19th century spurred philosophical movements that reasserted human values, the rise of AI demands a reimagining of our humanity. This call is especially pertinent for organizations seeking to balance productivity and profits with employee welfare. Jessica Jaymes Purdy’s 9 principles of employee care offer a framework for a more human-centered approach to work in the AI age.

At the core of the employee care philosophy is the recognition of employees’ inherent dignity and worth as human beings. Much as transcendentalists like Emerson affirmed individuality and intuition in the industrial era, employee care pushes back against viewing workers as replaceable resources. Technologies like AI may excel at automating tasks, but only human employees can drive innovation through imagination, ethics and empathy. An organization must nurture each employee’s potential for creativity, character and personal growth.

Purdy’s principles such as Human Relationships, Human Respect and Human Recognition parallel LaFrance’s call for transparency, in-person community and defending artists’ works against AI mimicry. While AI’s capabilities are awe-inspiring, overreliance can undermine authentic human exchange. Fostering strong interpersonal connections and representing diverse perspectives preserves our capacity for empathy and integrity.

Likewise, LaFrance argues that transparency can spur more responsible usage of AI. The employee care principles of Human Responsibility and Human Records speak to the need for ethical AI usage and protecting employee data. Clear guidelines and accountability for emerging technologies are key.

Fundamentally, employee care is about fulfilling employees’ aspirations, not just business goals. Much as LaFrance advocates curiosity, contemplation and comfort with the unknown, the principles of Human Readiness and Human Relevance empower continuous learning. This cultivates adaptability and purpose amidst disruption.

In this age of intelligent machines, remembering our humanity is essential. As LaFrance writes, “observing the world, taking it in using our senses, is an essential exercise on the path to knowledge.” Employee care means seeing employees for their inherent human potential, not just their functions. This philosophy allows organizations to lead with wisdom and empathy even as AI transforms the workplace.

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